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 the fitball I was sitting on burst and I fell on to concrete. I was diagnosed after 4.5 years, with a painful condition that is often misunderstood; it is Pudendal Neuralgia (specifically Pelvic Chronic Pain).
Obviously you will be able to imagine the difficulties I have had in the WorkCover system with such an injury. Six years down the track, at the age of 43, I am left without weekly payments and an impairment score of 0%. I seriously question whether I’ve ever been assessed fairly.
In the Preamble of the National Workers’ Compensation Action Plan 2010-2013, a paragraph (b) recommends providing “fair” compensation for work-related injury, illness and death. As far as I can ascertain, “fair” means “marked by impartiality and honesty, as well as free from self-interest, prejudice, or favouritism.” Does this definition coincide with that intended by WorkSafe Australia?
Elsewhere the document endorses “Engagement with members’ stakeholder networks to inform, consult, involve and collaborate with them and report back outcomes to SIG-Workers’ Compensation.”
Can you please inform me as to who are the stakeholders representing the interests of injured workers such as me? Perhaps PainAustralia? Perhaps Consumer Health Forum. Have they been consulted? If not, is there any reason for this?
I would also like to point out that many injured workers might be in the same position of being denied a “fair” assessment by virtue of the unavailability of a “Pain Impairment Rating Scale” similar to the PIRS (Psychiatric Impairment Rating Scale) which is currently in use.
I have found in my six years of experiencing pain that many of the independent medical practitioners being used for impairment assessment have retired from active clinical practice and their clinical skills are not up-to-date; thus none have been able to diagnose, assess or rate/score me accurately.
Ideally, I believe, assessment should have been carried out by my own independent medical practitioners who are engaged in active clinical practice within the field of my medical condition, Pudendal Neuralgia. These practitioners are up-to-date with diagnosis and clinical assessment techniques. These are the people that have made a difference to my pain and these are the practitioners/specialists who have made an accurate diagnosis and instituted proper treatment, and who best have the chance to help me get back to work.
My final question for the SIG-Workers’ Compensation: The principle of fairness mandates that people in chronic pain be assessed for monetary compensation under a similar impairment rating scale to those with psychological and psychiatric conditions. Have I been assessed in this manner? I believe I have not.
To conclude I would like to add that during my Impairment Assessment, I had a Neurologist, Orthopedic Surgeon and Occupational Physician, all male, examine me. They were thorough in measuring my implant scar and the Orthopedic Surgeon showed his knowledge by asking the Neurologist if he was going to do the ‘Perineal’ test (thankfully the answer was ‘no’). Taking this into account and them pricking me up and down with no response, and wishing me ‘a miracle’ on the way out I gathered these specialists did have some understanding of my issue. However, I feel the independent medical examiners in my case were embarrassed by their inability to perform a fair assessment of the extent of my impairment, there being no comparable rating scale to the PIRS!
I document my story via a website. Please note this letter and your response will be posted for public view on www.pudendalnerve.com.au and shared via social media.