21st May, WorkSafe’s Andrew calls

My long wait was over, or so I thought, when on 21st May I received a call from a Service Review Analyst working with WorkSafe’s Capability & Service Division.

Yes, it did seem that they had “escalated” my complaint, as promised, and I would at last be given some answers. But my hopes were soon dashed as the guy on the other end of the line tried to explain to me why it was taking so long to deal with my complaint. He told me that WorkSafe was having to seek further information as to whether I was making an additional complaint or was merely hoping for a response to my original one. I made it clear that I was still awaiting a definite response to my original complaint. Having then established that we were both on the same page, the caller said that he was in fact ringing to apologize to me for the delay. No reason for this was given.

When I inquired how he would feel if he was in my situation, he once again apologised to me.

As you might have gathered by now, I found this phone call to have been awkward, uncoordinated, empty and senseless.  It was patently obvious that he had not looked all that deeply (if at all) into my complaint.

Was he inexperienced and being thrown in at the deep end by his manager?  Or had he been told to play “dumb”? I wondered whether WorkSafe really does have a mechanism in place to investigate legitimate complaints! Perhaps their lack of response serves as a tactic to deter most people from pursuing answers to their complaints.

But once more I find myself waiting with “bated breath and whisp’ring humbleness” for some honest answers. Honest answers and compensation payments that I believe are fully justified.

20th May, Soula follows up:

Hi Liz,

Can you give me the ‘relevant person’s’ name and direct contact please? I’m beginning to think they don’t exist. It really shouldn’t take this long.

13th May, from WorkSafe’s, Lizabelle

Hi Soula,

Thanks for your further email.

Please be advised that I have referred your email to the relevant person looking into your complaint for his information and response.

Should you have any further queries…Blah blah

12th May, Soula follows up:

Hello Anthony,

Are you able to follow the ‘escalation’ of my enquiry. I feel it may have been lost on the way…

May I remind you the original enquiry was made on April 4th. Pretty poor on WorkSafe’s behalf I feel.

Soula Mantalvanos

24th April, Soula looks into WorkSafe’s complaint procedure

I was wondering who the Service Improvement Division were after my reply from WorkSafe. I found a WorkSafe Victoria Complaints Handling Policy pdf. I nearly threw up reading this as this is certainly NOT what I’ve experienced in my seven years as an injured worker (or self employer). In fact I can’t believe the words ‘caring’ and ’empathy’ are even used and ‘We live up to our promises’ isn’t true, WorkCover isn’t ‘Quality Income Protection’.

Grab yourselves a bucket injured workers, download the pdf or read my favorite worst bit:

Complaints handling at WorkSafe

WorkSafe Victoria (WorkSafe) is committed to actively seeking client and stakeholder feedback. Complaints about WorkSafe, our authorised Agents or service providers are an important aspect of client feedback. We value this feedback and see it as an opportunity to improve our service.

WorkSafe has developed complaints handling processes which comply with the Australian Standards and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) policy statement and encourages anyone who has contact with WorkSafe to provide feedback. There is no fee associated with providing feedback or having a complaint investigated.

WorkSafe will consider all feedback in a manner that is fair both to the complainant and to the party being complained about and which equally values all views.

WorkSafe will manage complaints consistently with its corporate values of being constructive, accountable, transparent, effective and caring.
We are constructive in the way we provide information, advice and service.
We are accountable for what we do and what we say. We live up to our promises.
We work in a transparent way in an environment which is open and honest.
We are effective by working collaboratively to deliver high quality services.
We demonstrate care by showing empathy in our dealings with everyone we work with.

7th April reply from WorkSafe’s Anthony:

Good afternoon Soula

Thank you for your email enquiry

Please note that the complaint has been escalated to our service improvement division to manage this query.  They will contact you in relation to this matter

Should you have any further queries or issues, feel free to contact the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 or 03 9641 1444 or visit us on the web at http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au.

Advisory Service information and advice is prepared in the context of the information you have provided in your email.  Whilst care has been taken to provide accurate information and advice, the Advisory Service has not endeavoured to advise on all possible contingencies and therefore not intended for other situations or circumstances, as this may affect this advice.

Prior to acting upon any information or advice offered by the Advisory Service, you will need to consider your individual circumstances to determine the application of the advice to any additional statutory obligation or duty relevant to your query.

Email Address WorksafeTo WorkSafe Victoria,

I’d like to formally report the lack of support, frustration, and stress I am experiencing with my claim with (enter WorkSafe Agent name) and within the WorkCover system. I have also been publicising my frustrations as I’m sure your social media management team are aware of but thought to give WorkSafe Vic the opportunity, once again, to handle my issue if I approached via your preferred methods. Having stated this, my previous complaints seem to have been lost to this address, I hope this one doesn’t have the same fate.

Here are my issues:

  • An injured worker should not have to be disadvantaged (such as held up payments) when a WorkSafe Agent employee is on leave,
  • I don’t appreciate having a valid point and being excluded from the Facebook page or having my posts deleted,
  • I have asked 6 times where it is stated in the regulations that my WorkSafe Agent (enter WorkSafe Agent name)  have 60 days to make a decision after a Medical Panels opinion has been delivered and have still not received an answer,
  • I have asked about the surveillance evidence that was provided to the Medical Panel ‘for completeness’. I had previously requested all my surveillance material and was allegedly provided with ‘all of it’. I want to know where the additional information provided to the Panels came from and why it was not provided to me when I asked?

And I want to express the following:

  • WorkSafe, from my experience, have no idea how to support an injured worker attempting to return to work,
  • my efforts to return to work should not be abused but rather encouraged
  • I should not have to endure $0 weekly assistance for 13 months (and still running) when I’m returning to work, not even when my hours are at 9 hours per week (and fall under the minimum requirement). This makes it all the more difficult to attempt return to work.
  • I have been using social media because writing to WorkSafe directly has been a huge failure from past experience and I expect that this latest attempt will also fall upon deaf ears
  • WorkSafe needs to take more responsibility for the WorkSafe Agents it employs, ostensibly to ‘help’ injured workers with their claims
  • WorkSafe is failing in its attempts to help injured workers find evidence-informed treatments, to help them recover and return to work
  • Your past responses to my letters of ‘noting my advocacy’ has made not the slightest difference to these governance issues

Once again, all this documentation will be noted and made public (without the WorkSafe Agent’s name) on my website www.pudendalnerve.com.au

Soula Mantalvanos