As long as WorkSafe and their Agent keep treating me unfairly and refuse to support me in the way that I am entitled, I’m going to keep my reports coming!

What have they done now?

The Worksafe Agent has responded with two unacceptable reasons for not providing me with a recording between their ‘Medical Advisor’ and my GP.

  • They’ve lost it! and
  • I don’t understand the other reason (do you?!)

The Agent recently organised an Independent Medical Examination (IME) with a psychiatrist.

In the lead up they insisted I had to attend an appointment in Melbourne as they were unable to find an IME in Geelong nearer to where I live now.

I insisted. They insisted.

I filed a formal complaint. My appointment was made in Geelong.

But in the process, the Agent reported that their medical advisor called my GP and reported my GP said the following:

Dr R reports worker has difficult with driving. The worker only lives 5 mins away from the clinic, and her husband usually drives her to the clinic. She reports there is no aids she is aware of. The Dr noted that the worker travelled to Europe earlier this year. The Dr reports if transport could be provide, she cannot identify any restrictions to attend an IME’

After several emails clarifying my travel limitations and the incorrect details above, I requested the recording. I know it is within my right to do this and receive it.

But an injured worker doesn’t get the chance to rectify incorrect information so easily. The hogwash above is somehow accepted and the injured worker is expected to suck up the consequences.

Nope. I’m sick of it.

I was told my request for the recording was made. And I filed a formal complaint to Worksafe who somehow found an appointment the following week in Geelong… ‘a cancellation’, they said!

Last Friday, 14th December I receive this letter dated 10th December (Agent’s name ‘protected’!):

Allow me to present the highlights

As outlined above, the Agent has rejected my request. Their words:

Exempt from release for the following reasons:

Internal working documents

  • Information that discloses opinions, advice or recommendations prepared as part of deliberations between officers of an Agent or WorkSafe Victoria and would not be in the public interest is exempt under section 9(4)(a) of the Act

Documents do not exist or cannot be located

  • The Agent conducted a thorough and diligent search, despite the extensive search we were unable to identify or locate the information requested. Call recordings are kept for training and coaching purposes for a maximum of 28 days

Unacceptable! So…

Dec 14th, 2018

Dear Hon Robin Scott & Hon Lisa Neville*,

Once again I write to seek your help and also alert you both to the unfair treatment I have to endure as a Victorian injured worker.

I have no doubt that you will be unable to help (Minister Scott I’m still waiting for a reply to my first correspondence with you). It makes me feel the situation for Victorian injured workers will continue to be dire and so unfair.Recently I requested a copy of a recording between my Dr and my Agent’s ‘Medical Advisor’. The Agent referred to this recording in their argument to make an IME appointment in Melbourne instead of Geelong (closer to where I now live which is Queenscliff).

The Agent insisted they could not find an appointment but also insisted on the location given my Dr had stated I was fine to commute. I am not fine to commute easily to Melbourne and so I requested the recording of the conversation that took place. I believe I am entitled to the investigations The Agent organises. You were cc’d in some of this correspondence.

My request to The Agent took place within the right time however today I received a letter (attached) explaining why the recording that took place with Dr JR cannot be provided to me. The reasons are truly bewildering and unacceptable.

The letter outlines choices I have if I would like to take the matter further but my point in writing to you is that I shouldn’t have to do that and I feel there should be some kind of alarm felt in this response that prompts your office to sort this matter out  – not just for me but so it is prevented from happening again.

By the time you have the chance to respond, I know the recording would have well been deleted as outlined in the letter (28 days!) which infuriates me further.

I shouldn’t have to file for a review to The Agent (insulting), complain to Worksafe (also insulting), seek a lawyer, go to the Ombudsman or proceed to conciliation/court as I believe I am entitled to my information. I haven’t done anything wrong in requesting this information and I should not have to fight to obtain this information. My information should not be deleted, lost or withheld from me. The Agent and Worksafe should be liable here and they should be made to rectify their mess.

This brings up huge fears and concerns for my personal information and how it is managed by Worksafe and their Agent and their providers. It should also concern you both for many, many other reasons as well. I feel the garble provided to me as a response should be very alarming.

How can this be fair treatment for an injured worker? For anyone?

While I write this message, I have a spinal cord stimulation trial wrapped to my body – leads coming out of my spinal cord strapped to a battery. I am hoping to find better pain management. I face more surgery in January and so am also under another pile of papers requesting approval for this surgery from The Agent, an organisation that can’t possibly know or be qualified to understand my circumstances.

For my two previous surgeries I had to go to conciliation, fight for my reimbursement (as will be outlined in the next Ombudsman’s report as an appalling example of injured worker treatment). I had to fight for almost a year through a 93CD claim that was rejected and forced us into sell our home. I currently receive 93CD payments after gathering the strength years later to return and face conciliation yet again for what was rightfully mine in the first place. No reimbursement for the years of wages lost (and the rest!).

The icing on the cake?

As a self employed person in Victoria, I pay a premium for this ‘quality’ insurance.

This system is truly shameful…

I expect to receive a response of some kind Minister Scott.


Soula Mantalvanos

As if I’ll get a response!

But if I do, rest assured you’ll be reading it!

Standing by…

*I would like to make a point of noting the help from The Hon Lisa Neville’s office. I am very grateful and even got to personally thank her.