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Low Back and Neck Pain Service - Waikato and Bay of Plenty (ACC Escalated Care Pathway)

What is the Low Back and Neck Pain service in Waikato and the Bay of Plenty?

This service is a fully-funded ACC pathway for people with low back pain or neck pain caused by an injury, that need more than the 'usual' care from physios and GPs etc, for various reasons. This services uses a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians, depending on what each individual person needs. Currently with Active+, this is only for clients that live in the Waikato DHB or Bay of Plenty DHB catchment area. The aim of the service is to improve access to surgical and rehabilitation services for clients who have not resolved with or need more than primary care input, and who require ‘escalated care’ such as specialist assessment and the multi-disciplinary services they may require to help them got back to normal life. 

The program also aims to improve access to these services for populations who historically may have had low utilisation rates of such services, particularly Maori, and Pasifika and rural populations.

This pathway is part of what is known as the ACC Escalated Care Pathways.

Who is this for?

For people with accident-related low back or neck pain of at least 3 weeks but not more than 1 years duration, 18+ years, living within the Waikato or Bay of Plenty/Lakes DHB region, and who have not settled or be able to be managed with standard primary care input alone. There must also be an accepted ACC claim for the low back or neck pain.

What are the benefits of this program?

  • Best-fit evidence-based care
  • Seamless care under one integrated team (including surgery and specialists when needed)
  • Vocational support from the outset
  • A client-centric service focussing on the client and their whanau holistically, and what they want to achieve
  • Timely support to address injury-related, cultural, psychological and social needs, to allow for best possible client-focussed outcomes.

How are people screened for eligibility?

Initial screening will be done based on agreed criteria and using the validated screening tools to ascertain appropriateness for this pathway. If a client does not meet the criteria, referral to primary care or recommendations to access an equivalent DHB-based program will be made, along with evidence-based recommendations for low back pain management.

What does the assessment involve?

Once eligibility is confirmed, the service begins with an allied health-led (physiotherapist, occupational therapist and/or Whanau Ora navigator) assessment encompassing an engagement session and validated subjective and objective screening tools, including screening for symptoms that need urgent medical attention. This leads into an interdisciplinary team review and decision-making process (including spinal specialists) for the client to follow either a surgical or non-surgical pathway to return to independence. The person who does this assesment becomes the clients Navigator, and journeys with them through the pathway as their key point of contact.

Who is involved in the program itself?

Input is individualised to client needs and findings on initial and ongoing assessment, and can include input from specialists/surgeons, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, vocational support, psychologists, pharmacists, traditional Māori health providers, counsellors, social workers, dietitians and cultural and community support workers/advisors. The clients GP or primary health care provider is kept in the loop if this is consented to.

The program length will vary and be dependent on outcomes.

Who can refer to this program?

Referrals can come from primary care, specialists and surgeons, and Maori and Pacifica healthcare organisations. Referrals are accepted from health professionals through our e-portal or email. Additionally, members of the public can contact us on 0800 GOGETACTIVE to make enquiries about their eligibility. 

How can I find out more details?

Please contact and we will be happy to answer your queries and provide further information. Active+ has a number of sites within the Waikato DHB and Bay of Plenty DHB catchment areas, for ease of access to this program for all clients. You can also fill in the contact form below to ask us to be in contact with you or your client.

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