(Image from my book, Art & Chronic pain – A Self Portrait) I’m going to erupt! I feel I’ve been left without any avenue to vent the poor treatment I’ve experienced as [...]
But we are grateful to the Conciliator and to WorkCover Assist who helped me to show that through Theo’s and my own initiative I have created my work position. Had we not done this I would have remained in receipt of full compensation payments and Theo could have found a job. Theo was allowed to explain the printmaking process to the VWA-appointed Agent (K) and to point out that it was impossible for me to undertake this task without significant assistance, as was the case for the creation of my book and for my daily work and living. However, their support, although most welcome, failed to make any impression on K or his successor, X. The roles of the Conciliator and WorkCover Assist in this comedy have been reduced to the pointless exercise of pushing pieces of paper around.
Prologue: This is not really a comedy but without a sense of humour and the odd injection of sarcasm this injured worker would explode from the frustration and disappointment that being in this system has created. I am heading back to conciliation on May 13 to battle for part-payments of compensation since declaring in December 2012 that I have a limited capacity for part-time work. I am also disputing my WorkSafe authorized Agent’s refusal to pay any of my medical expenses over the last 2-3 years. Acts 1 and 2 can now be written but Act 3 will have to await the outcome of the conciliation conference. But as you will see, the outcome could well provide the comic highlight of the performance. You in the audience may laugh, clap or cry as you read my sad little play.
It's astounding the levels the WorkSafe Agent will stoop too (which are the levels WorkSafe obviously set) in order to avoid their responsibility with my WorkCover claim. I'm going to keep up with this documenting as I want to encourage other injured workers to fight these pathetic insurer circus acts. It's unacceptable, not to mention, not what my WorkCover premium was paid for. Where's my 'quality income protection', where is my return to work help, and where is my income and medical financial help?
(Sing with me, to the tune of 'The 12 Days of Christmas'': 16 points of stimulation, multiple case managers, too many Independent* Medical Examinations, 9 anaesthetics, Several investigations, wasted complaints to WorkSafe, Four conciliation applications, Three operations, Two Medical Panel Opinions, One Impairment Assessment, and, no Partridge in a Pear Tree to be found...
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 & [...]
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:
I declared I had a capacity in 2013 after being indefinitely written off for life by the Medical Panels (a Federal decision) in 2009. In what should be a most positive experience I have not received one cent from my WorkSafe Agent since January 2013 when I first declared I was attempting 9 hours a week. It's so difficult for me to work, I'm completely reliant on Theo but my moral ethics will not let me rest, never-failing to notifying me daily that I am able to contribute to our business and in doing so and remaining honest, this will bring a positive outcome. I've had no one within the system guide me or offer help during this process. The system's drive seems purely for the WorkSafe Agent to make any process as difficult and stressful for the injured worker so that they give up their rightful compensation or worse still, change their ethics making them so fearful that they never attempt work again. I have never, in the whole 7 years of being exposed to this system, felt I could trust anyone, felt supported, given hope, treated with respect. I have not felt any kind of care but rather I'm left to feel and be treated guilty of my crime - a workplace accident. I won't accept this treatment, I won't accept this poor income protection WorkSafe calls 'quality income protection', and it's lucky for me I have help to battle and savings to live off (which are rapidly diminishing mind you). Not being intimidated, fearful, or swallowed up by this system and its primitive ways is the reason I found my diagnosis and got myself back to work! It's the reason why a Medical Panels, for the first time, has acknowledged someone with Pudendal Neuralgia (even though they can't verify it!!), and it's the reason why, I'll get my entitlements too!...
I know many of you have been waiting for this post. I have been waiting to post it myself but one guess what was in my way? A response from my WorkSafe Agent... and I'm still waiting for it! I received my Medical Panels opinion and they agreed with the capacity I had presented. I was honestly stunned. My opinion read: Question 1. Whether the worker has a current work capacity and, because of the injury, is, and is likely to continue indefinitely to be incapable of undertaking - (ii) further or additional employment or work ; or (ii) further or additional employment or work that would increase the worker's current weekly earnings and, Answer: (i) yes (ii) yes Question 2. If not so incapable, what further or additional employment or work the worker capable of undertaking? Answer: Not Applicable Further to, the report that followed bewildered me, tears streamed down my face. I actually didn't want Theo to read it to me, I was too fearful I'd read another limiting opinion, like the previous one that has me bound to a 'Chronic Pain Disorder' that no one understands. Or, worse still, it was going to be like the Impairment Assessment where the Neurosurgeon on that panel wished me 'a miracle' on the way out whilst contributing to the decision of: '0% whole person impairment... The degree of impairment is permanent'. Theo began... he read mostly accurate details that I had voiced to the Medical Panel, I couldn't believe what I was hearing.