It looks like I am slipping behind. Previously this newsletter was going out on Tuesday then Wednesday. Now its coming out Thursday this week!
PTSD Presumptive Provisions
The AFOEM regional Committee (Helen, Barry and me) have participated in a constructive teleconference with ACIL Allen about the proposal to extend the presumptive provisions in relation to PTSD beyond the State Service. Our committee has significant reservations about such an extension and these reservations were discussed in detail with ACIL Allen’s Andy Chiang.
The basis of concern is as follows:
- Our WC Scheme is already presumptive to some extent and there are doubts about any actual difference the presumption that PTSD is work-related will make
- There are significant risks associated with labelling workers as having PTSD, especially if the system encourages such labelling and the diagnosis is not being made by expertly trained practitioners. Such a diagnostic term can affect the prognosis
- Such provisions, whether they apply just to groups of State Service workers or more generally across industry add additional complexity to an already complex scheme. Complexity is a negative in terms of outcomes for injured workers. This would apply particularly if differing provisions applied according to the type of work undertaken or the basis of employment.
So while the proposed changes are well-intentioned, the committee thought there should be caution about further changes, particularly when the changes already made for State Service employees have not flowed through the system yet.
I have offered to explore the evidence base about this issue and provide that to ACIL Allen / WorkCover. Ultimately any changes to the system should be informed by the evidence, not just stakeholder opinion.
Medical Advisory Panel
The fourth meeting of the WorkCover Medical Advisory Panel has been scheduled for 07 October 2019. I haven’t seen the agenda yet, but I understand it will include the issues raised by this group with the exception of the OEP workforce issues, as WorkCover has already dealt with that matter definitively (despite the disappointment that caused for members of this group).
I think there will be an important discussion at the upcoming meeting about the best approach to promulgation of the new IME Guidelines – how they apply, some procedural issues and how to educate IME’s who visit Tasmania. I plan to circulate a discussion paper about some of these issues amongst the OMIT group in preparation for the meeting on 07 October.
An additional matter that I plan to raise at the upcoming meeting is the need to revisit the need for a support service for doctors to help them navigate the workers compensation system. The previous MAMS service was abandoned by WorkCover because of lack of utilisation, but a better designed and advertised service might work. There is a certainly a need. I am interested in any comments or suggestions about how an improved support service might work
Inaugural OMIT Dinner – Friday 08 November in Launceston
I expect Barry and Andreas will circulate details soon
Helen has flagged the above event on 14 October (Hobart) and 15 October (Launceston) that might be of interest. See link for details: https://www.worksafetasmonth.com.au/ptsd-mental-health-matters-conference/.
In November 2019 the AUSTRALASIAN DOCTORS’ HEALTH CONFERENCE 2019 will be held in WA. See link below :
There are apparently places at a Musculoskeletal WorkShop run by GPTT in Launceston on 05 October. The workshop is being conducted by Sports Physicians, Dr David Humphries and Dr Steve Reid. See link to programme.
Julieann Buchanan, State Lead TAS – Vic/Tas – Coles Team Cover (and WorkCover Board Member) has reminded me about the activities associated with WorkSafe Tasmania Month. The launch includes “Steps for Wellness” on 25 September. Keep your eye on the WorkCover website.
I am running an information session about “upper limb pain in the context of computer employment” AKA “RSI”, but the session is being run in Canberra on 09 October. See the link to the flier “What happened to RSI?”.
Chief Commissioner Webster
Mr Robert Webster is leaving the Workers Compensation Tribunal to take up a Magistrate’s position in early October. I would like to thank him personally for his interest and support in confronting the problems we face with the upcoming OEP shortage.
It will be interesting to find out about his replacement.
I am still seeking contributions for future newsletters. It would be good to hear something more about Carlin White, perhaps next week.