(By Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson)
Bags of Love Op Shop will open on the 31st July 2015
It has taken a lot longer than any of us at the Centre would have liked- however after many tears and a lot of frustration and loads of laughter and an rather risqué fashion parade the Bags of Love Op Shop will open on the 31st July 2015 .
It is yet another first in the wonderful world of workers compensation as the Bags of Love Op Shop is run completely by injured workers for the benefit of injured workers as each of them rebuild their lives in ways that has never been seen or done before.
“Bags of Love” aim to provide basic food supplies as often as is possible to ease the burden on the injured worker and the injured worker families.
There won’t be any speeches, and there won’t be any ribbons cut and the Australian stock market won’t have a sudden movement to indicate the importance of the opening of the OP Shop.
Most research on the effects of compensation has concentrated on examining outcomes rather than considering the compensation process itself… The majority of interactions were negative and resulted in considerable psychosocial consequences for injured workers
But we are grateful to the Conciliator and to WorkCover Assist who helped me to show that through Theo’s and my own initiative I have created my work position. Had we not done this I would have remained in receipt of full compensation payments and Theo could have found a job. Theo was allowed to explain the printmaking process to the VWA-appointed Agent (K) and to point out that it was impossible for me to undertake this task without significant assistance, as was the case for the creation of my book and for my daily work and living. However, their support, although most welcome, failed to make any impression on K or his successor, X. The roles of the Conciliator and WorkCover Assist in this comedy have been reduced to the pointless exercise of pushing pieces of paper around.
I’ve met some incredible people who have become my dear friends and my greatest supports during my pain journey. One of whom I often rave about is the wonderful John Quintner, Consultant Physician in Rheumatology and Pain Medicine. You’ve seen him battle beside me publicly on social media. Not only helping me with my comprehension…
I thought it best to start another post rather than comment below my original post, Formal Complaint to WorkSafe. This really deserves some space and attention. I don’t think I need to say too much other than to explain the image is a copy of the letter I received from the Victorian Workcover Authority accompanied with my reply.
You can all make what you will of this exchange between me, the injured worker, and the system setup to provide ‘quality income protection’.
Thank you for the belated response to my official complaint. I trust you will not mind if I respond and in so doing make some terse comments about the way in which your organisation has behaved towards me.
- An injured worker should not have to be disadvantaged (such as held up payments) when a WorkSafe Agent employee is on leave. Your failure to address this complaint means that you do not see it as being an issue of importance. Am I reading you correctly?
- I don’t appreciate having a valid point and being excluded from the Facebook page or having my posts deleted. Obviously WorkCover does not want to be seen in a bad light, giving the illusion that all injured workers are happy with the way they have been treated in your system.
- I have asked 6 times where it is stated in the regulations that my WorkSafe Agent (enter WorkSafe Agent name) have 60 days to make a decision after a Medical Panels opinion has been delivered and have still not received an answer. In response you say: ‘These are matters that are outside of (worksafe agent’s name) control’, and ‘it has attributed to both the absence of a staff member and also the receipt of additional information about your capacity subsequent to the return of the Medical Panel opinion’ In fact the member was absent well after the 60 days following receipt of the Medical Panel’s opinion.
- And the comment that follows constitutes a ‘catch all’ answer: ‘case officers generally have a good understanding of the Act and are able to respond to a broad range of enquiries. I am advised that the information required to respond to your enquiry was contained within the Administrative Law Act 1978.’ Can you please be more specific in order that I can understand your response?
- I have asked about the surveillance evidence that was provided to the Medical Panel ‘for completeness’. I had previously requested all my surveillance material and was allegedly provided with ‘all of it’. I want to know where the additional information provided to the Panels came from and why it was not provided to me when I asked? The additional information was not provided to me and, as I have specified in previous emails, it relates to details of my travel to Italy posted on my Facebook art page. This information was never provided to me. Nor does it seem necessary for me to have to ask AGAIN for this information.
- In sum, these responses make it absolutely clear to me just where Victorian Workcover Authority’s priorities lie – they are designed to avoid being seen to take any responsibility for the welfare of compensation claimants and their employers, whatever the cost may be to one or both of them.
And I want to express the following thoughts which are specific to the points I made in my original complaint:
I 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….
This is not really a comedy but without a sense of humour and the odd injection of sarcasm this injured worker would explode from the frustration and disappointment that being in this system has created.
I am heading back to conciliation on May 13 to battle for part-payments of compensation since declaring in December 2012 that I have a limited capacity for part-time work. I am also disputing my WorkSafe authorized Agent’s refusal to pay any of my medical expenses over the last 2-3 years.
Acts 1 and 2 can now be written but Act 3 will have to await the outcome of the conciliation conference. But as you will see, the outcome could well provide the comic highlight of the performance.
You in the audience may laugh, clap or cry as you read my sad little play.
It’s astounding the levels the WorkSafe Agent will stoop too (which are the levels WorkSafe obviously set) in order to avoid their responsibility with my WorkCover claim. I’m going to keep up with this documenting as I want to encourage other injured workers to fight these pathetic insurer circus acts. It’s unacceptable, not to mention, not what my WorkCover premium was paid for. Where’s my ‘quality income protection’, where is my return to work help, and where is my income and medical financial help?
(Sing with me, to the tune of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas”:
16 points of stimulation,
multiple case managers,
too many Independent* Medical Examinations,
wasted complaints to WorkSafe,
Four conciliation applications,
Two Medical Panel Opinions,
One Impairment Assessment,
no Partridge in a Pear Tree to be found…
How’s this for an opening line to my post: Perspectives on workers compensation issues from Dr Peter Sharman – Occupational Physician. Hopeful and hopeful is it not? Finally a practitioner putting it out there and standing up for a better Australian Worker’s compensation system. It’ll be no surprise that Dr Sharman and I connected over…