Diagnosing and managing work-related mental health
conditions in general practice: new Australian clinical
I would like to bring to the attention of readers the new clinical practice guidelines on mental health conditions published in the MJA. There are recommendations about diagnosis and management, but perhaps most interestingly the recommendations about relationship to employment are based on consensus, rather than higher grade evidence. See table below.
WorkCover have recently advised the continuation of support for free access by Medical Practitioners to the MD Guidelines.
Although Tasmania has not yet signed up to use the newly developed National Guidelines for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, I thought those interested should be aware of their existence. There is promise that such guidelines could address some of the issues with the guidelines in use in Tasmania, particularly in relation to aligning the guides to current clinical practice. For example, the national guidelines use more relevant criteria for diagnosis of CRPS and have improved methodology to assess WPI where spinal surgery has been undertaken.
SafeWork Australia maintains a National Issues Register relevant to WPI assessment. I understand issues can be logged with WorkCover Tasmania for consideration for inclusion on the national register.
Training of OEP’s in Tasmania
Congratulations to Dr Carlin White who has recently commenced training as an occupational physician (OEP) in the north of the state with Dr Andreas Ernst and Dr Barry Gilbert.
With the recent accreditation of Hobart Occupational Medicine as an OEP training practice to complement the Northern Tasmanian practices already accredited, there is an opportunity for integrated training and support for the new OEP trainees statewide.
Dr Barry Gilbert has proposed that an Occupational Medicine meeting in the north of the state to be held in conjunction with the 2019 Tasmanian Physicians Conference at Launceston General Hospital on Friday 8 Nov 2019. I hope that can be arranged. I urge as many Hobart-based practitioners as possible to attend. I plan to be there.
There is a need to discuss the best way to support the new Occupational & Environmental Medicine trainees in to ensure their positions are viable, the training practices are supported and can provide a suitable diverse range of experience in the various facets of occupational medicine.
I seek input about the best approach to meetings for the rest of 2019 i.e. to focus on a single meeting in Launceston or to also have a Hobart meeting before the end of the year.