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Insult and Injury

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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 a few tweets of frustration and WorkSafe/WorkCover hashtags. He’s been a fabulous support since, providing honest and open conversation about the primitive ways of the system, whilst expressing his frustration with not being able to help injured workers more. Well, now he is really helping injured workers and I believe it’s time for other practitioners to support him too. Peter has thrown open the topic and put it up for discussion on a fabulous blog platform. He’s also putting his views out there on how we can have a better quality system. I can’t wait to read his posts, they will be a huge support for me particularly now as I am heading back, once again, to conciliation to battle for my rightful compensation after a rejected part payment application (93cd) from my WorkSafe Agent (which now leaves me at 14 months with $0/0% support during my return to work process).

The literature is clear that people whose injuries are managed within a compensation system have worse outcomes, but why? Insurers would have you believe it is all because of fraud, secondary gain or that injured workers don’t want to get better. In reality it is more complex. Certainly there are issues about ’taking responsibility’  for one’s own recovery that can be lacking within a compensation system, but there are many other factors that affect the outcome. Important issues include stigmatisation of workers who put in claims and lack of access to appropriate treatment. The system often unreasonably questions a person’s genuineness, creating a response to prove there has been injury. The system of claims management remains adversarial. Responses include the development of secondary psychological illness which can be more disabling than the original injury. These issues can have dramatic effects on injured workers, i.e. Adding Insult to Injury….

…As a practitioner in private medical practice, I wanted to contribute to debate from my experience of the problems with the workers compensation system. Not only to raise issues, but to put forward solutions. That is difficult as a solo practitioner.

Here’s your chance practitioners, stand up, contribute and speak out. Demand a better Worker’s Compensation system.

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  • Andrew Jones

    I thankyou and wish you luck trying to get somewhere with the workcover system. I’ve been in the system now myself for 21 years and all they want to do is limit how often I can use different services weather I need them or not. I just wish they worked as hard trying to help people as they do trying to take things away from them. I think if you have no prospect in getting better like myself and probably meny others the system is not going to help you in any way it just adds to your depression witch adds to your pain. Again good luck, it would be nice for you if you could make some changers to the system that my help people with long term injerys such as chronic pain and the problems that go along with it.

    • soula

      Andrew thank you for your comment. I’m sad to read you’ve had to endure this awful system and its primitive and harmful treatment for so long. I’ll certainly give it my best to make a change, afterall the system gives me nothing to lose, therefore no reason to shut my mouth. I am currently receiving no compensation or support in my return to work process or for medical treatments, may as well put that frustration to good use for all of us. Stay tuned, keep the support coming, for all of us. Above all, take care of yourself, this system and its battles are not a place for you to be and don’t they know it!

  • John Quintner

    Soula, with dignity you have very effectively exposed the shameful treatment that can be dished out by a WorkSafe Agent to a young woman who not only has had to cope with her pain and disability but also to negotiate a rigid and uncaring system of personal injury compensation.

    • soula

      And it continues… preparing for conciliation now. As if the life change for a self employer isn’t enough. I’ll cope, the Workers Compensation System gives me every reason to keep ranting. I’m happy to write about great experiences, more so infact but I just haven’t had any! It gives me a place to put the pain and urges moreso to help others who don’t have the support I do. Your support is encouraging and strengthening, thank you!

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