Dear WorkSafe Victoria,
We have been acquainted now for over seven years, and to commemorate this occasion the least I could do was to pen you a few heart-felt words.
Today I came across WorkSafe’s Clinical Framework For the Delivery of Health Services and I would like you to know that it made so much sense to me from my perspective as an injured worker. I was very impressed reading through it. It ticked all the boxes and its approach (Purpose) was exactly what I had hoped to experience in my own chronic pain journey under your watchful eye. The guiding principles caught my attention:
- Measurement and demonstration of the effectiveness of treatment
- Adoption of a biopsychosocial approach
- Empowering the injured person to manage their injury
- Implementing goals focused on optimising function, participation and return to work
- Base treatment on best available research evidence
Furthermore, the points outlined in the document were for me the key to finding a diagnosis, obtaining appropriate treatment, and to embark upon a return to work. I admire the way you have set all this out in the initial pages, so nicely and clearly. You should be proud of your Purpose:
- optimise participation at home, work and in the community, and to achieve the best possible health outcomes for injured people
- inform healthcare professionals of our expectations for the management of injured people
- provide a set of guiding principles for the provision of healthcare services for injured people, healthcare professionals and decision makers
- ensure the provision of healthcare services that are goal orientated, evidence based and clinically justified
- assist in the resolution of disputes
Your expectations? They were also were impressive to read:
All healthcare professionals providing services to injured people as part of transport accident or workers compensation schemes are expected to adopt these principles within the standards and boundaries of their professional expertise. The principles apply to all compensable injuries regardless of their severity. Healthcare professionals are also expected to adhere to documentation and record keeping standards as required by their relevant professional body.
As part of implementing the Clinical Framework, it is expected that healthcare professionals will communicate with others and work with other healthcare professionals when it is in the interests of the injured person.
But there is one detail that I failed to understand, and I’m hoping you can clarify it for me. To whom did you send this wonderful document? I had never seen it until today when a dear friend who is interested in my welfare forwarded it to me.
As you may know by now, the experience, understanding and support outlined in your Clinical Framework has in fact all come from me. I have had to discover all of this on my own during the time I have been part of the WorkCover system (that’s seven years, did I mention that before?).
I’m more than a little upset that you appear to have hidden this document from me, from my Agent, and possibly from many injured workers and their treating Health Professionals. Why go to all the trouble of producing this document, endorsing it with your name, researching and gathering professional and current health information only to keep it to yourself.
Whilst reading your Clinical Framework the realization dawned on me that I could not recall any of the ‘Healthcare Professionals’ that have assessed me actually applying this Framework, or even mentioning it for that matter. Nor have I attended any WorkSafe-initiated appointments where the word ‘biopsychosocial’ was mentioned. And I most certainly have not felt that I was presented with the ‘best available research evidence.’ In fact all I seem to have heard is quite “primitive” in comparison to your wonderfully comprehensive and ethical Clinical Framework..
As I pen these very lines, I am awaiting back payments of compensation moneys due to me. I have been attempting to return to work and have actually been successful in this endeavour. Your lack of assistance in this process of return to work has left me without one cent in compensation payments for over a year. I am also involved in a dispute with one of your Agents that could easily have been avoided if the person or persons concerned had actually read and understood your Clinical Framework. I imagine that when the Ombudsman Office eventually hears my complaint, your document may well come as a surprise in that forum.
I’ll sign off now but leave you with only one simple request. Can you please widely promulgate WorkSafe’s Clinical Framework For the Delivery of Health Services so that injured workers throughout Victoria can be treated with respect by your Agents, and only be treated by informed health care professionals who are actually interested in helping them in their return to work?