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Dear WorkSafe Victoria

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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:

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Reply to my ‘Fair Assessment for Compensation letter’

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After speaking with Kris Vanston I now know that injured workers do have the Victorian Ombudsman to turn too for unfairness issues within the WorkCover system.

I had my doubts about contesting my impairment score of 0% (that was deemed permanent I might add), as I am very well aware and have ranted aplenty about Chronic Pain NOT being acknowledged in the guidelines that are used to assess injured workers. That means there is Australian legislation (I’ll rephrase; it is legal) for WorkSafe practitioners to ignore Chronic pain, thus Pudendal Neuralgia. No where within the system will any WorkCover practitioner be able to assess an injured worker’s Chronic pain. I’m experiencing the result of this, I’ve been living this ignorance since March 2007.

I wrote a letter that was ignored for a few months by our WorkCover Minister, WorkSafe and SafeWork Australia. The Victorian Ombudsman employee informed me not to use the ‘info’ email address but rather the ‘enquiries’ one when I’m writing to WorkSafe. Ridiculous but he was right and I eventually received a response.

(Enter sarcasm) I now feel completely healed and completely relieved with the empty response I received. It managed to ‘acknowledge’, ‘agree’, ‘assure’ and confirm all the points relating to this outdated system that I initially made in my letter. I’m also more at ease knowing everyone who assessed me ignored all my symptoms and inabilities and that was legal. I’m also proud of the staff at WorkSafe who are happy to abide by ignorant and narrow-minded measures that would also apply to them in the event they injured themselves at work. Above all, I’m in awe of the WorkSafe staff and all related employees and practitioners who’s reports are so loyal and discerning of these out-of-date AMA4 guidelines (with pain chapter removed), and The Accident Compensation Act 1987.

This template response clearly indicated to me that anyone with chronic pain and with any of the following symptoms/limitations, as a result of a workplace accident will not get compensation: affected toilet function, spasms where you really don’t want them, sensory pain (in my case throughout the pelvis), toothachey nerve pain, weakening legs, burning, zinging, if you have limited sitting ability, if you are limited in walking, standing, working, lifting, bending, exercising, if you have an implant as a result of pain (or even if you need one for that matter), if you rely on daily help, if you can’t drive, shop, sit and type this damn email in one hit etc etc…!

Well thank you WorkSafe for the ‘quality’ protection you promise. And Heidi just one question, would this letter have been acceptable for you if you were in my shoes?

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The Scheme Project

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You can all imagine why The Scheme Project caught my attention and you can all understand why my pledge was not only made in seconds it was supported (and increased) by my husband Theo who equally saw the benefits in Kris’s project. As frustrating as it is being left without any income and medical support after my workplace accident and having my fair share of rants to expose, I actually appreciated Kris’s professional approach to his project and his intent to make the documentary up front but not personal. He’s not looking for tantrums, witch hunts, singling out of fraudsters and unethical behaviour but rather aiming at exposing the realities in hope of making a change. At the end of our conversation we both agreed that life’s great knowledge of ‘health first’ doesn’t seem to be part of WorkCover’s culture. The support just isn’t there, not in treatment, not in standards, not financially and certainly not in return to work.

What does Kris need?
Your signatures and your pledge (pledges are not collected unless Kris reaches his target). ‘You’ may be an injured worker, family member of an injured worker or employer, a treating practitioner, medical examiner, conciliator, lawyer, investigator, WorkSafe agent staff member, Minister, anyone associated with the WorkCover system in fact any worker or employer, we all deserve better quality protection.

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Subject: Fair Assessment for Compensation?

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For those subscribed to this Fair Assessment For Compensation post, I have had a reply and it is posted here! AN OPEN LETTER TO WORKSAFE AUSTRALIA (CC’d The Hon Gordon Rich-Philips) SUBJECT: FAIR ASSESSMENT FOR COMPENSATION? My name is Soula Mantalvanos and I am an injured Australian worker ever since an unfortunate incident in March 2006 where…

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Increasing employment opportunities for people with disability

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Australian Government Logo

Increasing employment opportunities for people with disability.

Minister Shorten seeks proposals on ways to boost employment participation for people with disability, discussion paper seeking public views on how best to achieve reform.

The discussion paper, Improving Employment Participation of People with Disability, seeks public views on how to best achieve reform, including:

• how to promote and improve equality for people with disability in employment and in the workplace
• how to support employers to identify and remove barriers to full and equal participation of people with disability
• how to promote the removal of all forms of discrimination on the basis of a persons’ disability
• how to improve workplace consultation between employers and employees on issues concerning people with disability in the workplace
• how to improve the productivity and competitiveness of Australian business through the advancement of people with disability in the workplace.

The Government would like to hear from all interested parties, including:

• people with disability, their families, carers and community representatives
• employers and employer representatives
• current Employment Service Providers
• state and local governments
• unions and other employee representative groups

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Expired and fallen through the cracks

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After a few battles regarding my massage treatments, peripheral stimulation implant and finally receiving a letter form my WorkSafe agent stating I would no longer be receiving medical reimbursements/support, I began a hunt for a deserving explanation…

But back to my main point, the answer I was seeking. I called the contact the Hon Gordon Rich-Phillips advised and it led to a conversation with my WorkSafe Agent’s Injury Management Advisor (IMA) and for once, I seemed to be having an open and honest conversation with a WorkSafe Agent employee. It’s hard to say it was honest because this system has taught me not to trust anyone, sadly. It felt like a great relief to be speaking to an educated, intelligent, experienced and capable person… I didn’t get invalid and poor excuses or worse still, lies. Every point I made was dealt with and the conversation was about me, my case and my specific issues…

…the grand finale was that the IMA was going to answer why my medical expenses support had ceased?

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Thanks Erin Brockovich for supporting injured workers

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It’s starting to happen, there’s a little stir… injured workers are speaking up. And they’re getting noticed. Thank you to the brilliant WorkCoverVictim (and my cyber friend – well how else to injured workers meet!?), and your team for supporting injured workers through your brilliant website. You deserve your visit from THE Erin Brockovich… Erin Brockovich, you revived some injured workers today. THANK YOU.

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Published and about to be heard!

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Thank you Graphis, The International Journal of Visual Communication, for publishing my political poster.

Australia’s WorkSafe system needs a serious update for the sake of Employers, Workers and Tax Payers. I’m hoping to get enough views to be published in the Graphis Annual and send a personally signed copy to our WorkSafe Minister.

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Victorian Government: Don’t raid WorkSafe’s surplus

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The WorkSafe surplus is under threat from the Victorian Government. Premier Ted Baillieu wants to rip out $471.5 million over four years from the WorkCover Authority, known as WorkSafe, so he can balance the State Budget… Maurice Blackburn has been looking out for the best interests of injured workers for more than 90 years. We’ve started this petition to send a strong message to the Victorian Government: don’t raid the WorkSafe surplus…

I signed it:

I can’t believe Ted Baillieu found one more way to make the system worse than it already is! How about ‘ripping’ out shonky investigations and shonky Independent Medical Examiners, you’d gain more than 471.5 million!

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Funniest of all…

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…And, they keep insisting that there are many Australian workers that want to be ‘on the system’, or as put especially for me, ‘how many Australian’s want to shut their businesses down and live off the Government’s money’.

I wonder where this comes from, are the WorkSafe agent employees trained to think that anyone on their payroll is dodgy? It certainly might explain why no one is compassionate, no one is empathetic, no one seems to understand, no one can answer a question appropriately, no one can make things happen for you, no one is interested (staff are here today gone tomorrow), all you get is lies, lies, lies or no answer, irrelevant treatment and judgement.

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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.

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