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No Partridge in a Pear Tree to be Found, I’m Preparing for Conciliation… Again!

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(Sing with me, to the tune of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas”:

16 points of stimulation,
Multiple case managers,
Too many Independent* Medical Examinations,
Nine anaesthetics,
Several investigations,
Wasted complaints to WorkSafe,
Four conciliation applications,
Three operations,
Two Medical Panel Opinions,
One Impairment Assessment,
and,
No Partridge in a Pear Tree to be found…

AND, still, no financial support. AND, still, no understanding of my Workers Compensation case.

My application for part payments has been rejected on the grounds that the Worksafe Agent feels I have more capacity and has gathered that opinion from my advocacy efforts, the maintenance of this website, and my art projects. So, I’m off to conciliation once again to explain what should be obvious, or rather could be explained with a phone call. But you’re not going to get that kind of service or understanding within our WorkCover system. It’s nothing but doubt and a point of the finger, turning real facts into incorrect assumptions which ultimately block all healing and return to work pathways for an honest injured worker.

Damned if I’m going to keep my mouth shut, or my return to work efforts contained. To be honest, the system is giving me nothing to lose here and every excuse to keep exposing it and its limitations. I want to get back to work and I will use any talent I have to get there, I’m a self employer. Even if that means more conciliation conferences and withstanding 15 months without a single cent. There are other injured workers to think about here too, this isn’t just about me.

Do I have to mention I’m entitled to my leisure projects which the WorkSafe Agent seems to think they have a right to. Where will this get too? God forbid I attend a birthday party and take photos or make a speech, it may be viewed as capacity!

The conciliation date is set for May 13, which leaves me with no income yet another month. I’m honestly left believing that this system exists for no other reason but to deter injured workers from their rights. Entertain yourselves while I share the answers the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service (ACCS)’s conciliator seeks from my GP (or other treaters) in preparation for the conference (and I know you will all be reciting the answers in your heads as you read through the bullet points):

  • The diagnosis and history of Soula Mantalvanos’s injury and/or condition.
  • The relationship of this injury/condition to Soula Mantalvanos’s employment.
  • Whether Soula Mantalvanos’s medical condition/incapacity results from or is materially contributed to by the injury?
  • Soula Mantalvanos’s current capacity for pre-injury duties / any suitable duties / the duties in any job offer
    with reference to any work restrictions.
  • Whether Soula Mantalvanos is currently able to work and if so, what sort of work is suitable?
  • If Soula Mantalvanos is unable to work, is this likely to continue indefinitely?
  • Is the treatment that Soula Mantalvanos is having essential to ensuring that Soula Mantalvanos can remain at work or Soula Mantalvanos’s health or ability to undertake necessary activities of daily living does not significantly deteriorate? (e.g. feeding, bathing, toileting and dressing).
  • Any other relevant information, eg. Treatment or non-medical services required.

What’s the agenda? I have to present and respond to the insurer’s allegations. Yes, the WorkSafe insurer drives while everyone listens and works around the assumptions. I have no right to work this out with the insurer. Why can’t any questions be dealt with more simply and more efficiently? I’ve waited over 60 days for a response to my application (not to mention the 8 months previous to that while being assessed, waiting for opinions etc etc), which the WorkSafe Agent replied to 10 days late witout any explanation, then they reject the claim and meanwhile, no one seems to notice the injured worker has been left without any funds during the exhausting process… Surely I’ve landed on some uncivilised planet, it certainly isn’t Christmas!

I can understand the answers to the above questions would make a lovely report and ease the conciliation process but really, how is an injured worker meant to cope with this pressure not to mention fronting up and coming face-to-face with a ruthless insurance company employee who’s using immoral tricks in the efforts to please the Government workers compensation body? How are my GP and practitioners meant to cope with the demands for report writing over and over (paid or not)?

It comes down to this for me and I thank my legal adviser for this clarity:

The complications of my case are illustrative of the limitations and partiality of the workers’ compensation system in general.

It is a system designed to compensate manual workers who suffer traumatic physical injuries in the course of their employment with a company – this being the typical scenario for work injuries since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century. It’s categories and methodology today still reflect these origins.

Consequently the system, it’s categories and modes of assessment are poorly equipped to deal with, amongst other:

  • Self-employed workers
  • creative workers
  • Pain disorders

Simply put, the ‘artist’ matter does not fit well into the system. Still, a sympathetic and switched-on conciliator can consider it appropriate to make a Direction in my case.

Will he/she?

The facts are on the table (and in the Medical Panels Opinion): Soula is injured, Soula can work but only in her customised home/office/Theo setup (and even that is extremely difficult and requires many sacrifices). Soula’s issues are all related to her work accident, Soula’s treatment has helped her progress and get back to work, Soula is working to her max capacity, Soula is an honest injured worker and with her husband Theo are attempting to make the most of an awful situation. And the task at hand is: To find a conciliator with the right skill and intension to write a report that somehow fits the poorly equipped criteria he/she has to work to. Why should that poor criteria be my problem? Why should I be paying the price? Why should I be unpaid for 15 months? And how dare my efforts be used against me instead of for encouragement. Needless to say, using my advocacy efforts to prove capacity is really aiming below the belt…

WorkSafe I’m sick of these rants. When are you going to give me something to lose so I can shutup!

Feedback

9
  • Tanya Knight

    I know I am not alone in my fight though there are days where that’s exactly how I feel, it’s nice to finally hear another’s experience put so succinctly. The current model of looking after injured workers is in need of a complete overhaul. I am not overly optimistic that this will occur easily nor soon. There are many days where I would like to give up my fight and then I remember it’s not only myself I fight for but the rights of others that are too afraid to stand up to these megalithic corporations that seem only to exist due to the need of our government needing to put a cooperative face on the matter of injured workers, whilst holding the injured person underwater and watching them drown.

    • Soula

      Tanya so perfectly put. I just realised I didn’t respond to your comment… I’m in the process of being watched drowning! Hope you’re coping ok.

      • John Quintner

        Soula, to be fair to WorkCover you might have added that the organization excels in one area – that of not responding to legitimate complaints.

  • John Quintner

    Soula, a fundamental principle of claims management is that the claims officer(s) handling a claim should not become emotionally involved with the claimant. In your case, the claims officer(s) appears to be biased against you and this is reflected by the bloody-minded officious response to your request for vocational rehabilitation assistance. Could the person handling your claim be in urgent need of psychological or even psychiatric assistance?

    • soula

      John I believe the whole system is in need of a psychiatric assessment but if it assesses against its own measures, it will not find a problem…

      The insurer has everything they need to work with me in getting back to work, I put it out there as I am most eager to return to my old life. They keep on abusing the efforts and sacrifices Theo and I make and the pain I’m in still hourly, finding the loopholes available to them to use the efforts against us, and everyone around them follows and plays the game.

  • Brenda

    I think we need to start a petition and send it to the Government!!!

    • soula

      Or print out my posts and send them to your local Minister. It’s just getting ridiculous!! Enough already.

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