An independent review panel set up to "look into" ACC's Clinical Pathways (their internal procedure in dealing with sexually abused claimants) returned their mind-boggling verdict last week. To date, ACC conceded on only one recommendation - to reinstate "sixteen sessions of immediate therapeutic assessment and recovery support". All other recommendations are now being handed over to another group, yet to be selected by Minister Nick Smith, to see, negotiate, haggle, implement, reject... whatever the case may be.
It is a report that states not only the blatantly obvious but all that the industry or sector have claimed all along - the same sector/industry that were blatantly ignored in the early stages of the Clinical Pathway introduction; the same sector that walked out of an annual meeting in protest of the clinical pathways and in direct view of the man implementing the plan - Dr Peter Jansen (not like he didn't know then, right?); the same sector that saw some 600 practitioners refuse to accept any ACC clients. Whew, glad the review panel picked up on that. equally relieved they suggest ACC play nicely with the sector and perhaps "work closely with survivor's representatives, service providers, and relevant Government agencies". Bit like telling the big bad bully to play nicely with the other kids - frigging bloody obvious but needed to be said anyhow.
However, the Review Panel, in my view doesn't get off lightly either. I think it pussy-foots around some very disturbing issues, with the harshest criticism of ACC being that they may have acted hastily and were ill-prepared. Gee, you think?
I personally believe the "cost-cutting" theory was the incentive behind the implementation of this butchered Massey research. But nowhere in the report does it question the people behind the research, such as Felicity Goodyear-Smith, and/or Rankin's statement that she was only hired to cut ACC costings. It may not have been the report's objective but you can't investigate into a "sham" without looking into who initiated it, surely. Rosemary McLeod, Columnist, liken Felicity Goodyear-Smith to a ferret being assigned to look after chickens. Well, this report looks into the ideal philosophies behind "best practice" for sexually abused victims without questioning what the hell the ferret was doing there in the first place.
Okay, okay... this report is a step in the right direction...actually, I take that back. It doesn't push anything in the right direction. At best it has "suggested" ACC stop acting like a pack of dickheads "halting" the whole claims process, but moving forward? Well that's yet to be seen really. In my view, nothing will process or move forward until we can understand who the hell are the people trying to stop the process - the insiders peddling their own agendas and why are 'the powers that be' allowing them to do so?
The upshot.. or should I say, the reality of this report is yet another manilla folder sitting on Minister Nick Smith's desk telling him how to do his job properly. The only question left to ask is, will he listen, this time?
Maybe we'll know more about that closer to election time.