Just a brief Newsletter this week.
Occupational Medicine in Tasmania
I have been invited to discuss the subject of Occupational & Environmental Medicine Training in Tasmania at the Self-Insurers Association of Tasmania Annual General Meeting in Hobart on 05 December 2019. I expect this will be an important opportunity to explain what is needed to have a comprehensive approach to training a new generation of occupational physicians familiar with our local industries and experienced in managing work-related injuries within the Tasmanian compensation schemes.
Victorian WorkSafe IME Standards
WorkSafe Victoria have undertaken a significant amount of work to improve the standards of IME assessment within their jurisdiction. They have had in place for many years a QA Peer Review Program that provides an anonymous peer review of three randomly selected reports from an IME, conducted by contracted peer reviewers. The peer reviewer assigns a quality score and provides constructive feedback to the IME. In October 2018, in response to issues raised in the 2016 Ombudsman’s Report, they introduced an additional quality layer called a ‘Clinical Desktop Review’ to provide a more agile and responsive review of an IME report. Clinical Desktop Reviews use the expertise of a WorkSafe clinical panel member to review an IME report, and provide feedback and suggestions for improvement to the IME. During the 2018/19 financial year, 54 clinical desktop reviews and 25 quality assurance peer reviews were conducted.
In addition, the standards for IME assessors are subject to strict criteria. Here are the requirements for Occupational Physicians to be utilised as IME assessors:
Medico-legal Communications Protocol Working Group
Along with Dr John Saul and Dr David Dunbabin, I have been invited to the initial meeting of this group. Lawyers involved include Ms Amanda Thompson from Wallace Wilkinson & Webster Lawyers and Mr Luke Taylor from HWL Ebsworth Lawyers . The meeting is to be held on 11 December and will review the document entitled Medico-legal Relations – A Code of Conduct. This document was prepared by the now defunct Medico-legal Society, but was never completed or published.
The Guidelines developed by AMA Victoria in conjunction with the Law Institute of Victoria are also worth considering. AMA-LIV-Guidelines-for-Co-operation-between-doctors-and-lawyers-May-2015.
I am interested to receive any comments or feedback about this matter prior to the meeting.
The newly released book by Dr Michael Epstein “The Guide to Civil Psychiatric Assessment” is a useful resource. While intended for psychiatrists, the principles are also applicable to occupational medicine practitioners involved in independent assessments. I recommend you have a read.
Barry has alerted us that the ANZSOM (Australian and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine) are running their national conference in Launceston next year from 19-22 March 2020 at the Pepper’s Silo Resort. The draft programme includes presentations by Dr Andreas Ernst, Dr Barry Gilbert, Dr Rob McCartney and Dr Tim Stewart with plans for multiple workplace visits and opportunities for training in audiometric skills and making presentations. More details as they come to hand.
ANZSOM are also hosting ICOH 2021 in Melbourne.
I am still seeking contributions for future newsletters.