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29 May 2013 - 08:45 AMTake care out there people.
As winter sets in Kiwis are being urged to take care - with their gumboots.
Last winter about 160 gumboot-related ACC claims were received for injuries caused by while people were putting on, taking off, cleaning, throwing, walking, running and jumping in gumboots.
"Every imaginable body part bore the brunt of these accidents, with bent fingers, pulled hamstrings and strained groins, shoulders and backs all common by-products of the gumboot donning and removal process," said ACC general manager of insurance and prevention services John Beaglehole.
Shoulders were the body part most likely to be injured during the Kiwi pastime of gumboot tossing, and many people were bitten by spiders, said Mr Beaglehole, who recommended shaking boots before putting them on.
There were also grazes and blisters caused by ill-fitting gumboots and others were injured from tripping on gumboots lying around.
To avoid injuries, Mr Beaglehole advised people to take care putting on and taking off gumboots, wear something more sturdy if chopping firewood or using a chainsaw, take care on slippery ground, shake boots before putting them on and choose the right size.
25 May 2013 - 01:07 PMThe Accident Compensation Corporation's Earners and Work Accounts are now fully funded ACC Minister Judith Collins has told National Party members at their Northern Regional Conference today.
Ms Collins' gave party members the "very good news" shortly after Associate Finance Minister Jonathan Coleman gave an opening speech exhorting them to explain to the public how last week's Budget demonstrated National's competence in managing the economy.
Responding to a question about the $1.3 billion in ACC levy cuts over two years which were the surprise announcement in the Budget Ms Collins said the Earners and Workers accounts were now "fully subscribed" or fully funded.
That means they now have sufficient cash go meet the future costs of all current claims on their books.
That has been a long term goal since the previous National Government abandoned the "pay as you go" model in 1999.
"We're no longer a corporation that could go bust, we're no longer a corporation in difficulties. We are now a corporation that's working well."
That work included reducing the number of long term ACC claimants to 14,000 to less than 11,000.
"All these people are back to independence."
"We're now a good news portfolio."
Ms Collins later told the Herald the financial position of the corporation, which now has $23 billion in assets, gave the Government the confidence to give the levy cuts.
The current strength of the corporation's books is also a significant factor aiding the Government's target of returning to surplus by 2014-15.
Asked whether the good news about ACC strengthened the case for larger and sooner cuts to levies in line with advice last year from both ACC itself and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Ms Collins said: ``We have to look at the wide picture as well".
"We've made no secret that as a Government we want to get back into surplus by 2014-15 and it would make no sense to lower one side and then have to raise something else."
Dr Coleman earlier gave a Budget briefing to the several hundred party faithful gathered at Mt Wellington's Waipuna Hotel, telling them; ``Please go out there and sell this Budget, sell the economic story".
"We've got a great story to tell. The contrast between us and our opposition next year is going to be really how we win that third term."
Party members sat down to lunch this afternoon with a view of a drizzle moistened trio of protestors outside including activist Penny Bright, waving banners including a mock Tui billboard: "John Key's not looking after his own, and his corporate mates' interests - he's looking after the public. Yeah right."
Mr Key will address the conference tomorrow afternoon.
14 May 2013 - 09:14 PMNapier woman Jacqui Scott was expecting to receive her own ACC files from Dispute Resolution Services, the company in charge of sorting out ACC disputes, but instead received sensitive ACC documents belonging to another woman.
"It's quite distressing," says Ms Scott.
"I shouldn't be looking at other people's documents, especially ones that are so personal."
The papers arrived by mail with a cover letter, which was addressed to Ms Scott.
They were sent by Dispute Resolution Services Limited, a company ACC pays to independently review disputes around ACC claim decisions.
The company's chief executive, Greg Pollock, accepts the breach is his company's fault and says he doesn't know how it happened but it is being investigated.
"You could summarise it as human error, but it's human error that has occurred within what I am confident are quite robust processes," says Mr Pollock.
Ms Scott says his excuse is not good enough.
"Human error? I'm sorry, that doesn't work with me."
She is worried her own sensitive documents have also been sent to someone else. But Mr Pollock claims that hasn't happened. He says he has alerted the privacy commissioner about the breach.
Last year 6700 client details were emailed to ACC claimant Bronwyn Pullar, sparking changes to how ACC deals with sensitive information.
In a statement, ACC said it's disappointed about the privacy breach and it's talking to Dispute Resolution Services about how it happened and how to prevent it happening again.
19 April 2013 - 07:24 PMA West Coast mother admitted to Grey Base Hospital for day surgery suffered horrific burns during the procedure and has been left with a significant permanent disability.
Jo Partridge spent seven weeks in the burns unit of Christchurch Hospital following her ordeal. Eleven months on and she is still unable to put her children on her lap, due to pressure on her pelvis.
She has been to theatre more than 35 times, and is unable to live a normal life.
The West Coast District Health Board has apologised for a "catastrophic equipment failure" but maintains its hospital staff are "competent and capable".
The Health and Disability Commissioner is investigating the case, which was reported briefly last year by the West Coast District Health Board as a 'serious and sentinel event'.
In May 2012, Mrs Partridge underwent a thermal ablation - a internal gynecological procedure - but four minutes into the procedure the intrauterine balloon containing saline heated to 86degC and burst inside her.
The hot liquid spilled under pressure into her vagina, and over her genitals and buttocks. It came out with enough force to splash the surgeon in the face.
Mrs Partridge says she was left for five days with no internal treatment.
The DHB's own root cause analysis report says "immediate cooling measures were not undertaken".
At the end of the procedure, staff noted evidence of burns and scalding. It was subsequently discovered that she had "severe burns to her vagina and perineum".
Theatre staff had "underestimated" how much of the heated saline had spilled.
A hospital report said the surgical method had been used on the West Coast since 2004 without incident. The staff were properly trained, and testing of the machine found no faults. However, the report also recommended the thermal ablation system be permanently removed from the hospital.
Mrs Partridge and her husband Scott took legal advice before going public, and are limited in what they can say.
But they have one clear message: "Staff should be stood down while the Health and Disability Commissioner is investigating."
Mr Partridge has lost his job due to having to take time off work to look after their young children and his wife, who is suffering from chronic pain.
"With common sense and basic first aid, life would be so much different now," Mrs Partridge told the Greymouth Star.
West Coast DHB chief executive David Meates said the incident was the result of "catastrophic equipment failure".
The procedure was no longer used at Grey Base Hospital, and the board had apologised to Mrs Partridge.
The incident was reported to Medsafe and the Health Quality and Safety Commission, he said.
Asked if there had been any delay in treating her burns, he said third-degree burns did not present themselves immediately.
The case would be thoroughly investigated by the Health and Disability Commissioner.
Mr Meates said the hospital had not been able to ascertain why the balloon failed in the first place.
"It was not something people thought possible to occur."
The liquid should have been extracted by the machine.
He said the DHB would comply with any recommendations and lessons from the Health and Disability Commissioner, saying it was important after any serious event that the board did not bury its head in the sand.
An improved procedure for the management of burns had since been implemented at Greymouth.
Asked about standing staff down during the inquiry, Mr Meates reiterated that it was a catastrophic equipment failure and he did not want to make a knee-jerk reaction. Hospital staff were "competent and capable".
The doctor who treated Mrs Partridge had provided "excellent service" and this was the first serious incident involving that doctor.
Grey Base still does thermal ablations, but not the balloon method.
19 April 2013 - 07:20 PMHuman Rights Commission staff cuts signalled
Friday, 19 April 2013, 4:43 pm
Press Release: Public Service Association
19 April 2013
Broom sweeps through Human Rights Commission with staff cuts signalled
Staff cuts loom at the Human Rights Commission as the result of a cost-cutting review and a change in organisational direction, according to the Public Service Association.
At the same time as the government appoints a number of new commissioners the Human Rights Commission has announced a strategic review of its operations.
The Commission has been battling a shortfall of funds and has been told by the government that there will be no additional baseline funding until 2020.
It has presented staff with a proposal which would see more than 10 full-time jobs cut along with a number of part-time and fixed term positions.
PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says it represents about a 15 per cent reduction in overall staff numbers.
“In an organisation of its size with only about 72 full-time staff, that’s a pretty big hit and will have significant flow-on effects in terms of workload and efficiency. The scale of the proposal has taken staff by surprise.”
Staff are also disappointed by what they believe is an unfair and lop-sided approach to the review.
Richard Wagstaff says “while the axe is falling on staff, the number of management positions is being increased. The Commission has always had plenty of well-paid managers and this appears to be a classic case of building up managers and cutting workers.”
“There are also concerns that the strategic direction outlined in the review will impact on the Commission’s ability to proactively work with the community in ensuring everyone’s human rights are protected and upheld.”
Suggestions of moving the HRC’s head office from Auckland to Wellington have also unsettled staff and the whole organisation will be on tenterhooks for another year while it continues to try and make a range of savings.”
The PSA has been talking to its members and is preparing a formal submission as part of the review process. Submissions close on 3 May and the Commission is expected to release its final decisions on May 29th.