Ministers on wheels to support World Spinal Cord Injury Day

ACC

ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway and Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni will be spending Wednesday September 5 in wheelchairs to promote World Spinal Cord Injury Day and raise awareness of pressure injuries in New Zealand.

ACC supports the initiative as a way to promote awareness of complications of spinal cord injuries, such as pressure injuries, and will be launching a range of pressure injury education videos for people with spinal cord injuries, says Iain Lees-Galloway.

Spinal cord injuries can cause many different issues for people, including loss of movement or sensation. Many New Zealanders rely on a wheelchair to get around. There are many complications of spinal cord injuries, such as pressure injuries, which can profoundly affect the daily life of the person. Pressure injuries can happen to anyone with limited mobility.

“As Minister for ACC, I am aware of how pressure injuries impact the New Zealand health system by prolonging hospital stays, delaying community reintegration, and in the most severe cases can cause death,” says Minister Lees-Galloway.

“However, we must remember the main impact of these injuries is on the individual, their family and whānau. I am spending a workday in a wheelchair to gain some insight into what Kiwis with a spinal cord injury face on a day-to-day basis.

“ACC is working with the health sector to implement a pressure injury strategy to prevent, manage, and treat pressure injuries in New Zealand,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

Minister for Disabilities Issues Carmel Sepuloni says the day is also about highlighting accessibility issues that many people with spinal injuries face on a daily basis.

“My role as Disabilities Minister is to advocate for disabled people across Government,” says Carmel Sepuloni.

“I’m pleased that 31 state sector organisations have signed up to the Accessibility Charter which outlines how they will improve the accessibility of their information, premises, and services for disabled people.

“I expect the experience will underline to me the importance of improving accessibility and growing inclusion for disabled people, including those with spinal injuries,” says Carmel Sepuloni.

Further information:

  • About 55,000 people develop pressure injuries annually in New Zealand, even though they are mostly preventable and early intervention can reduce their impact. ACC spends around $40 million a year on pressure injuries to serious injury clients.
  • ACC has partnered with the NZ Spinal Trust and the Burwood Academy of Independent Living to develop a range of educational videos to support pressure injury prevention, management, and treatment for people with spinal cord injuries.
  • The videos are part of an overall pressure injury strategy to reduce the incidence and severity of pressure injuries in New Zealand. The strategy will continue to be implemented over the next two to three years.
  • The videos can be found at www.relievethepressure.org.nz