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A new workers compensation programme in South Australia

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RosemaryI met Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson advocating an online forum for injured workers. She spoke in a way I’d never heard before, she spoke to me about support, empathy and trust, the ways an injured worker never experiences (I’m vouching for the Victoria’s system).

I’ve since had the pleasure of meeting Rosemary and we’ve become great friends. She’ll be in my life as long as we both live and anyone that has the pleasure of meeting her will say the same.

Rosemary’s efforts to help injured workers have been endless, not to mention exhausting since she’s trying to teach our Australian Government a language they don’t understand. I’m so happy to be able to include this post on my website and hope that it is the beginning of a new global, not just national, workers compensation scheme. Afterall, injured workers simply want to get better and back to work and this is something Rosemary believes and knows how to drive.

I have to warn any injured workers before reading the following, you’ll be left astounded and wondering if you’re in some backward and warped world. You’re about to read the very opposite of what you experience in the current workers compensation system. It’s quite shocking.

If you are in South Australia and are an injured worker, you can seek help from Rosemary’s Bags of Love program. Contact details below.

Craig’s Table

(excerpt by Rosemary)

Craig’s Table is very unique within the world of workers compensation, it is a 40 week community based training programme and community based work placement programme that invites employers in at every stage to see just what is going on and for the first time actually engages injured workers from point of injury to engage in meaningful and supportive engagement/employment that will provide real outcomes for injured workers instead of the current concept of churning injured workers to generate income for the provider but little to no outcome for injured workers.
Craig’s Table will for the first time actually set a benchmark standard so that in the future employers will be able to see that there is nothing to be concerned about in regard to employing an injured worker because the injured worker will be able to show that they have maintained their work ethic and gained very valuable skill sets along the way.

Craig’s Table is as you can see by the attached document not just a training programme, but a life skills training programme, it encompasses leadership training, financial training (the financial training is actually both a personal financial training course and a lead in training course for those who want to enter the world of finance) and ways to not just return to work, but skills required to gain different employment if that is required. There is also the basics of first aid, suicide prevention, food handling, manual handling and fire control.
The training component is (depending on each person) around 12 weeks in length –a lot of it is computer based, though there is also requirements for attending set components.
Each part of the training component will lead into the next stage working within the community based employment/engagement with people being able to opt into a section that is of interest to them.

What we promise is that injured workers will have a minimum of 40 weeks with Craig’s Table, we also accept that some injured workers will leave before the 40 weeks is up and that some injured workers may never leave as they will not be able to regain enough medical clearance capacity hours to move on.

The downside to all of this is that until there is enough funding to start Craig’s Table the project will sit on my desk.
The upside of this is that there is non-workers compensation people interested in setting the community garden and the commercial kitchen in place with plans being worked on and written up.

Craig’s Table has many layers to it, it is envisaged that the number of long-term claimants will drop simply because injured workers will not be isolated as they are now so the secondary depression will not have time to take hold, it is also believed by the workers compensation industry people here in Australia who have seen the concept that the amount of legal disputes will also drop, again because the injured workers will have access to a new set of information and be trained to control their own workers compensation claim rather than allow the legal people to take control. I am in talks with a colleague to be able to use the medical forms that he and a collection of others have written that will actually put real information in place so as injured workers will no longer be ignored or not listened to in the myriad of appointments that the workers compensation systems want them to attend.

Read more about Rosemary’s work at wirc.net.au
Rosmeary’s bio
Craig’s Table overview

P.O. Box 12, Welland
South Australia 5007
Phone: 08 8255 9138
Email: reception@wirc.net.au

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14
  • Jennifer Edgemore

    http://wirc1.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/craigs-table/

    I thought that the readers of this page might be interested in this link.

  • Josephine Bridge

    Dear Soula,
    With fifteen years experience with WorkCover Insurance I most definitely scan say, they kill you, over, and over, and over again. Even after Liability is paid, Deeds signed, they continue by allowing the Insurers, to exploit loop-holes that exist in policies, to allow them to, kill you , over, and over, and over again.

  • Alison Moore

    What an amazing woman Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson in, she really is the breath of fresh air that the stagnant and hypercritical workcover system is. I look forward to meeting Rosemary soon and hearing more about Craig’s Table.

    • Greg Mc

      Alison like the rest of us who meet Rosemary you will be blown away by her smile and the way she really talks with you, there are not enough words of praise for Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson

  • Greg Mc

    America has Richard Pimentel but Australia wins because we have Our Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson

  • Ren Lewis

    To think one person can make such a difference in the lives of those who have sustained a workplace injury and ALL that baggage that comes with it, pain, stigma, loss of identity, depression, loss of income, employment, family & friend contact …the list goes on. Thankfully my beautiful Mother & step Dad were the people that asked for help when they could see that I was unable, I was broken. Soon enough Mum & I met Rosemary at a nearby coffee shop. Rosemary told me there was a light at the end of the tunnel but after all the years, the only end I could see, was a rapidly darkened one. Rosemary told me I was worthy but I couldn’t see it. Thankfully now I am clawing back some long lost confidence & identity and I know that the love, support, direction & information Rosemary provided was crucial in my life being turned around. She is so dedicated to helping rebuild the lives of injured workers and because of the supports she has put in place like the Bags of Love program & Craig’s Table, more injured workers have the chance to take control of their rehabilitation, not be controlled as was the theme in previous years.
    Because of Rosemary I have
    * Met new friends * Seen relatives more often * Met my husband * Lost 30 kgs (of the 50kgs that I gained of injury weight) * Kept a level head through the loss of my dear Mum *Reduced my anti – D’s * Reduced some pain meds * Volunteered for a few years to gain experience, confidence & referees * Been employed for 9 months……. The next step on my journey is to hopefully add to our family.
    Sadly people don’t realise the battles faced by injured workers unless they have felt or seen it first hand.
    I am so thankful, honoured & proud to know such a beautiful angel. Thank you for reassuring Mum when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer that we could start a new journey.

    • Adam Brownly

      Ren Lewis I my best guess is that Rosemary gave you every reason and many more to start the road forward, my guess is you have found yourself many times thinking to yourself “what would Rosemary say?” my guess is that she has given you room to grow all the while you have known she has been watching you, laughing with you and when needed cried with you or held you so you could cry in a safe pair of arms.

      I know how Rosemary works, I have seen her help grown men to cry so that they can let go of all the anger and fear.

      Craig’s Table will bring Rosemary into more lives, Craig’s Table can not be allowed to gather dust on Rosemary’s desk.

  • Adam Brownly

    Our Rosemary is truly the most humble and most amazing person, she reaches each person who call up her help in such a soft yet powerful way. It is the depth of strength that we all cling to because we know that no matter what happens Our Rosemary will always find a way to make things work and to make things better.

    The announcement of Craig’s Table is long overdue, I know this because the concept has been building inside of the heart and mind of Our Rosemary. I have no doubt that she will find the way to make it all work for the betterment of every injured worker -No injured worker overlooked No injured worker left behind.

    However I want to focus a small bit on who Our Rosemary is so that the injured workers and the industry people who read this know just how immensely strong Our Rosemary is.
    Strong as in heart and mind and soul.
    Rosemary is the sister of a deceased worker.
    Rosemary is the daughter of parents who buried their son.
    Rosemary is the daughter of parent who owned the business that was where the death occurred.

    Rosemary is an injured worker.
    Rosemary lives in constant pain.
    Rosemary knows the fear that any workers compensation system brings into the lives of an injured worker and their family.

    Rosemary is a hero, she is a rock, she is a safe place to rest, Rosemary is everything that the workers compensation has no understanding of but needs to learn.

    Rosemary never shakes hands with anyone unless she doesn’t trust them.
    There are countless people who Our Rosemary hugs and only a small number of people she will shake hands with – I will leave it to work out who you are in Our Rosemary’s eyes.

    I had the true honour and pleasure of meeting Our Rosemary when she asked for help with a young man who was suicidal, there was no time to waste, she was on a mission and would move on if I could not help whilst that was a few years back now Our Rosemary and I have remained close friends.

    My regret was I was unable to get to the launch of Craig’s Table, I have no doubt through that Craig’s Table will bring the long over due changes that are required.

    You are right Soula the term Our Rosemary fits like a glove for the most special and most powerful person this industry called workers compensation has seen.

    • Paul R

      I am yet another of Rosemary’s broken people, I heard her speak on a radio programme in the tiny hours of a morning, I called the radio station and asked what could be done to fix many complex issues that I was facing. It was a surprise and a relief when she not only answered my questions but told me she would help to find the longer term outcome that was needed.
      Over the many years since when ever I have faced a difficult time I always remember that Rosemary is still only ever a phone call away.

      Craig’s Table is the resolution every injured worker needs no matter where they are or who they are.
      The one thing I do know about Rosemary is the strength Adam talked of will ensure that nothing will stop her from finding a way to build the better future for everyone.

      Thank you Soula for putting up this post.

  • Julie Gardner

    I am another of Our Rosemary’s lifelong supporters. I met Rosemary at my darkest and would not be here today if my Husband had not made what we now call “that phone call”. We will be forever in her debt, I do not have the words to explain or express how my life changed from that day until now. I have seen two children marry and 4 grandchildren born and this would not have been possible without the constant support that we have been shown by Our Rosemary. Just knowing, even now after 7 years that Rosemary is still just the other end of the phone gives us all hope that somehow we can get change in the workcover system and that Rosemary can continue hopefully with some funding to carry on her very very much needed assistance for the injured workers and also their families

  • Jennifer Edgemore

    I met Our Rosemary when the darkest hour of my life arrived with my son hovering between life and death after a workplace incident.
    If I live for a thousand years I will never be able to repay Our Rosemary for all that she did to keep my son from falling into the abyss of depression and taking his own life just to get away from the amount of physical mental and emotional pain he endured.

    I am not alone in gratitude Our Rosemary has been the steading hand for so many injured workers, she has worked tirelessly to put in place everything she already has done, the “Bags of Love” emergency food project being the only emergency food hamper project of its kind anywhere in the world.
    And now Craig’s Table the name she chose to honour a young man and his wonderful parents.
    What breaks my heart is how easy it is to fix the workers compensation system, I know the team around Our Rosemary is dedicated to bring about this much needed and long overdue change.
    What we need to do is all get behind Our Rosemary so that much needed funding is available for Craig’s Table to bring the change and save the lives of injured workers.
    I attended a public meeting where I heard Our Rosemary speak, she said the following words “you don’t have to be in a box to be dead, you just need to be on WorkCover” I have never forgotten those words or the passion they were delivered with.
    My son is alive today due to the love and care that Our Rosemary put in place, now it is time for others to step up and repay the one person that they have relied on for so very long.

    Thank you Soula for posting the information about Our Rosemary and Craig’s Table here

    • soula

      Jennifer I think we can safely rebran Rosemary, I really love your ‘our Rosemary’… it’s perfect. Thank you for your comment, I hope you and your son are managing life.

  • Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson

    My Beautiful Soula, I promised I would gift to you a pair of scissors to free you from the strings that bind you, it is my hope and my vision that Craig’s Table will deliver to you and to every injured worker the freedom of their own life.
    I am Blessed to have you and the wondrous Theo in my life, you are both providers of endless inspiration .

    I don’t know where the funding for Craig’s Table will come from, I just know that a path will be found because too many injured workers and their families have paid a price that should never have been asked,

    Yours in service
    Rosemary

    • soula

      We are all blessed to have you in our lives Rosemary. I couldn’tve put this better myself: “you don’t have to be in a box to be dead, you just need to be on WorkCover”…

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