3 Apr 2009

Doctors paid $50 to get people off ACC, say Greens

1:49 pm on 3 April 2009

ACC Minister Nick Smith says he is confident a payment being offered to doctors to get people back to work is not a bribe as claimed by the Green Party.

The party says doctors are being offered a "perverse" incentive of $50 to get people off ACC.

ACC has confirmed that a pilot scheme it is running in Taupo offers money to doctors in recognition of the extra work that goes into rehabilitation.

Dr Smith says he is confident the money is not being given to doctors as an incentive to push people back into work before they are ready.

He says he'll make sure the trial is working well before it is extended to other regions.

Greens ACC spokesperson Sue Bradford says the Taupo scheme pays doctors the money to get patients into the Better at Work scheme, as well as other payments for participation in the scheme.

Ms Bradford says the aim is to save money by stopping support for accident victims, and the savings made will be shared between ACC and doctors.

She says paying doctors extra to remove people from income-related support is a "perverse" incentive to force accident victims into work before they are ready.