Looking for Something?
Browsing Category

Work / System

Insult and Injury

Author:

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…

…(This content is for members only.)
Log In Subscribe now

Formal Complaint to WorkSafe Victoria

Author:

21st May, WorkSafe’s Andrew calls

My long wait was over, or so I thought, when on 21st May I received a call from a Service Review Analyst working with WorkSafe’s Capability & Service Division.

Yes, it did seem that they had “escalated” my complaint, as promised, and I would at last be given some answers. But my hopes were soon dashed as the guy on the other end of the line tried to explain to me why it was taking so long to deal with my complaint. He told me that WorkSafe was having to seek further information as to whether I was making an additional complaint or was merely hoping for a response to my original one. I made it clear that I was still awaiting a definite response to my original complaint. Having then established that we were both on the same page, the caller said that he was in fact ringing to apologize to me for the delay. No reason for this was given.

When I inquired how he would feel if he was in my situation, he once again apologised to me.

As you might have gathered by now, I found this phone call to have been awkward, uncoordinated, empty and senseless.  It was patently obvious that he had not looked all that deeply (if at all) into my complaint.

Was he inexperienced and being thrown in at the deep end by his manager?  Or had he been told to play “dumb”? I wondered whether WorkSafe really does have a mechanism in place to investigate legitimate complaints! Perhaps their lack of response serves as a tactic to deter most people from pursuing answers to their complaints.

But once more I find myself waiting with “bated breath and whisp’ring humbleness” for some honest answers. Honest answers and compensation payments that I believe are fully justified.

20th May, Soula follows up:

Hi Liz,

Can you give me the ‘relevant person’s’ name and direct contact please? I’m beginning to think they don’t exist. It really shouldn’t take this long.

13th May, from WorkSafe’s, Lizabelle

Hi Soula,

Thanks for your further email.

Please be advised that I have referred your email to the relevant person looking into your complaint for his information and response.

Should you have any further queries…Blah blah

12th May, Soula follows up:

Hello Anthony,

Are you able to follow the ‘escalation’ of my enquiry. I feel it may have been lost on the way…

May I remind you the original enquiry was made on April 4th. Pretty poor on WorkSafe’s behalf I feel.

Soula Mantalvanos

24th April, Soula looks into WorkSafe’s complaint procedure

I was wondering who the Service Improvement Division were after my reply from WorkSafe. I found a

…(This content is for members only.)
Log In Subscribe now

Dear WorkSafe Victoria

Author:

Dear WorkSafe Victoria,

We have been acquainted now for over seven years, and to commemorate this occasion the least I could do was to pen you a few heart-felt words.

Today I came across WorkSafe’s Clinical Framework For the Delivery of Health Services and I would like you to know that it made so much sense to me from my perspective as an injured worker. I was very impressed reading through it. It ticked all the boxes and its approach (Purpose) was exactly what I had hoped to experience in my own chronic pain journey under your watchful eye. The guiding principles caught my attention:

…(This content is for members only.)
Log In Subscribe now

Will I live to regret it?

Author:

I declared I had a capacity in 2013 after being indefinitely written off for life by the Medical Panels (a Federal decision) in 2009. In what should be a most positive experience I have not received one cent from my WorkSafe Agent since January 2013 when I first declared I was attempting 9 hours a week.

It’s so difficult for me to work, I’m completely reliant on Theo but my moral ethics will not let me rest, never-failing to notifying me daily that I am able to contribute to our business and in doing so and remaining honest, this will bring a positive outcome.

I’ve had no one within the system guide me or offer help during this process. The system’s drive seems purely for the WorkSafe Agent to make any process as difficult and stressful for the injured worker so that they give up their rightful compensation or worse still, change their ethics making them so fearful that they never attempt work again.

I have never, in the whole 7 years of being exposed to this system, felt I could trust anyone, felt supported, given hope, treated with respect. I have not felt any kind of care but rather I’m left to feel and be treated guilty of my crime – a workplace accident.

I won’t accept this treatment, I won’t accept this poor income protection WorkSafe calls ‘quality income protection’, and it’s lucky for me I have help to battle and savings to live off (which are rapidly diminishing mind you). Not being intimidated, fearful, or swallowed up by this system and its primitive ways is the reason I found my diagnosis and got myself back to work! It’s the reason why a Medical Panels, for the first time, has acknowledged someone with Pudendal Neuralgia (even though they can’t verify it!!), and it’s the reason why, I’ll get my entitlements too!…

…(This content is for members only.)
Log In Subscribe now

The Medical Panels assessment of my work capacity 2014

Author:

I know many of you have been waiting for this post. I have been waiting to post it myself but one guess what was in my way? A response from my WorkSafe Agent… and I’m still waiting for it!

I received my Medical Panels opinion and they agreed with the capacity I had presented. I was honestly stunned. My opinion read:

Question 1. Whether the worker has a current work capacity and, because of the injury, is, and is likely to continue indefinitely to be incapable of undertaking –
(ii) further or additional employment or work ; or (ii) further or additional employment or work that would increase the worker’s current weekly earnings and,
Answer: (i) yes (ii) yes
Question 2. If not so incapable, what further or additional employment or work the worker capable of undertaking?
Answer: Not Applicable

Further to, the report that followed bewildered me, tears streamed down my face. I actually didn’t want Theo to read it to me, I was too fearful I’d read another limiting opinion, like the previous one that has me bound to a ‘Chronic Pain Disorder’ that no one understands. Or, worse still, it was going to be like the Impairment Assessment where the Neurosurgeon on that panel wished me ‘a miracle’ on the way out whilst contributing to the decision of: ‘0% whole person impairment… The degree of impairment is permanent’.

Theo began… he read mostly accurate details that I had voiced to the Medical Panel, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

…(This content is for members only.)
Log In Subscribe now

Myself, Ms Soula and my pelvic pain story at the Alliance for Improving the Management of Pain 2014

Author:

I would have had to be dead not to front up to an opportunity where I could present my pain journey to 180 chronic pain interested practitioners.

Was I terrified? Absolutely! But as if chronic pain hasn’t trained me for that, pushing me past all my boundaries and limits, and facing constant fears… this was going to be a piece of cake in comparison!

The Alliance for Improving the Management of Pain 2014 (AIM Pain 2014) was held in Sydney and PainAustralia were searching for a patient to tell their story. My first thoughts were; I had to be able to tell my pelvic pain story through art, Ms Soula had to be on the stage with me, and I worried that this was impossible to physically manage without Theo’s help. As it turned out all that was ok, in fact the organisers were most enthusiastic about the creative side, and the support for both Theo and I was 100%.

I was asked to present my story as honest as possible and in my own words and pictures.

…(This content is for members only.)
Log In Subscribe now

Off to the Convenor of Medical Panels with my invisible pain

Author:

You know that feeling before something great is going to happen, like just arriving at the airport and knowing you’re off on a great holiday? It’s a great feeling isn’t it? Makes your insides really happy, the body and mind get a lift, and troubles seem to slide away, everything feels like it’s going to be alright. Well, I couldn’t feel more the opposite right now. I have an appointment with the Convenor of Medical Panels on Tuesday and I’m feeling more like I’m facing a funeral.

…(This content is for members only.)
Log In Subscribe now

Soula Mantavanos…Inside her home and her passion to help others!

Author:

Tell us about your history and how you ended up in the position of being an amazing woman advocating for chronic pain?

“I was working in our graphic design studio, Origin of Image (ooi.com.au) in March 2007. I was always health conscious so aside from my yoga ritual 4 mornings a week and walking everywhere, I would often sit on a fitball. It was great until the antiburst fitball burst and I fell to the concrete floor. It really was the split second that changed my life. I was 37.

I think what tipped me into advocacy was the 4.5 years it took to find a diagnosis and the near miss I had with living out the rest of my life in horrific pain levels if I’d not investigated further. My chronic pelvic pain is more specifically known as Pudendal Neuralgia (PN) or Pudendal Nerve Entrapment (PNE). This is more simply put as Carpal Tunnel in the pelvis. Where Carpal Tunnel affects the hand signals and hand movements, Pudendal Neuralgia affects our biggest pelvic nerve which controls toilet and sexual signals and functions. The pudendal nerve runs under pelvic ligaments and muscles and is attached to nerve roots in the lumbosacral spine so it can be disabling. It feels like that core part of my body has a toothache or as if I have my finger stuck in a powerpoint. BUT, I’m happy to say I’m in a much better place now and that’s why I want to share my story.

I believe if I was diagnosed within 6 months of my injury, I would not have this issue now and that makes me want to reach everyone with undiagnosed pain that may be suffering from PN.

I’ve also been drawn to advocacy for injured workers since I’ve now had first hand experience with the WorkCover system and its limitations for understanding, assessing and treating chronic pain. In fact my chronic pain issue was not assessable for compensation. Its score was rated at 0% impairment.

I’ve also submitted many complaints and questions to WorkSafe and associated organisations, I’m making a heap of noise on social media and gathering a great group of people in the hope of making a change. A network exists now, encouraging other injured workers to speak up, forming communities for support where there were none previously. Injured workers can now vent, speak up, be heard. Social media has provided a voice and is our legs (even when we physically can’t move).

So in the process of advocating for PN/PNE the biggest tasks are to change the judgment and misunderstanding of ‘pain’, and misconceptions of the term ‘injured worker’.”

…(This content is for members only.)
Log In Subscribe now

Theo and I, live on The Scheme Project’s broadcast

Author:
Theo Soula Live In The Studio

Doing my bit again for injured workers and hoping that sharing my story will bring positive change to the primitive Workers Compensation system in Australia. Both Theo and I attended today’s live broadcast with Kris Vanston, Simon Toppin and their team to discuss the aims of The Scheme Project. My specific rants are; the inadequate…

…(This content is for members only.)
Log In Subscribe now

Happy to be stars of The Scheme Project

Author:
Soula Theo On Scheme Project

Soula Theo On Scheme ProjectMy rants are plenty in regard to the WorkCover system and my efforts to express the limitations and lack of support I’ve experienced as an injured worker for almost 7 years have been endless. All efforts have led to the usual dead-end letter from a WorkSafe Agent, Government body, WorkSafe themselves, if not the dead silence and ignorance that’s on offer for most workers’ concerns.

I was ecstatic when I heard about Kris Vanston and

…(This content is for members only.)
Log In Subscribe now

Seeing a blank page?

This chronic pain advocate could do with a little help to maintain her site. Your $3 per year makes a huge difference and shows me you appreciate what I do. Subscribe to keep reading Soula's personal posts

Paying subscribers enter your address to receive posts via email

What is Pudendal Neuralgia (PN)?

Most simply put PN is Carpal Tunnel in the pelvis/buttocks. Compression of the Pudendal Nerve occurs after trauma to the pelvis and is aggrevated with pressure. The pain is often described as a toothache like pain, with spasms, sensations of tingling, numbness, or burning. It can be very debilitating.

Test ride {P}T FREE for 3 months

Order my book $31 (inc. postage)

Pain Train was created for patients by me, a pain patient. Try it FREE for 3 months

Archives