Media Statement: Long-standing discrimination against women finally addressed


01 August 2022

Long-standing discrimination against women finally addressed

Proposed changes to ACC legislation to cover birth injuries addresses long-standing discrimination against women, according to New Zealand’s only specialist physiotherapist in pelvic health.

Dr Melissa Davidson helped prepare Physiotherapy New Zealand’s submission to the Select Committee on the Accident Compensation (Maternal Birth Injury and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2021.

Currently birth injuries are not covered by ACC which means thousands of women are living with unnecessary long-term disabilities and reduced quality of life. While the legislation will not be retrospective, it does mean that women in the future will get funded treatment.

“We are pleased that this wrong is being put right. It will result in better outcomes for women and hopefully remove financial barriers to seeking treatment. All women should have access to the help they need following child birth which is why we will be pushing for fully-funded treatment.

“Pelvic health physiotherapy is the first line of conservative treatment recommended for women injured during child birth and it has a very high success rate in improving the quality of life for women. In fact most women would benefit from pelvic health physiotherapy after the birth of a child whether they are injured or not,” said Dr Davidson.

Physiotherapy New Zealand has welcomed the legislative review. However Chief Executive Sandra Kirby says the closed list of injuries to be covered doesn’t go far enough.

“We believe all injuries should be covered. We made that point in our submission. The list will be reviewed in three years and we’ll continue to advocate for a change. Our submission included that the legislation should be retrospective to ensure those women who shared their experiences to the Select Committee would also be covered,” said Sandra Kirby.


Page updated August 2022