The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) welcomes the announcement by ACC Minister Carmel Sepuloni that some birth injuries to the mother will be covered under ACC scheme.
CPAG says this announcement is an important first step towards wider reform within the scheme.
“Mothers’ physical and psychological wellbeing as soon as possible after birth is vital in ensuring all children have the best start in life,” said Emeritus Professor and CPAG Health and Disability spokesperson Dr Innes Asher.
“Some birth injuries are incapacitating and may cause lasting debilitation, pain and abnormal function. Giving all mothers who need it appropriate and timely input and support from specialist doctors, physiotherapists, and the home help they need is critical in enabling thriving mothers able to meet the needs of her children.”
While these proposed changes are a positive step, CPAG is calling on the Government to go further and include coverage for birth trauma experienced by mothers and for birth injuries suffered by babies.
“Parents of new babies are doing one of the most important jobs in the world,” says Professor Asher. “All birth injuries – including mental injury – needs to be covered so parents can focus on the task at hand; nurturing their children.”
“Families and babies suffer when a birth parent is experiencing birth trauma and unable to access appropriate treatment. It adds another layer of stress at a time when parents are vulnerable,” she said.
“This change is about improving fairness and equity with the ACC scheme,” CPAG Health and Disability spokesperson Dr Innes Asher said. “Overall women make fewer ACC claims than men, have fewer injuries covered, and those claims cost a lot less than men’s claims.”