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Has this person been following you?


Don’t be fooled by the ‘human’ looking disguise, deep down the ‘p.i.’ male or female can usually be seen dressed well and in a car parked on your street. He/she could be eating in the car, perhaps holding a camera or look dumb founded and staring into space if you suddenly look their way. He/she can’t reveal truth, in fact if you actually get to speak to one they may call themselves an ‘assessor’ and make out they like you, they’re ‘here for you’. It’s their duty, their prerequisite to be sneaky, unsuspecting, appear resourceful, detective like, goodness they even believe that they’re honest and fulfilling their duty (!!!!!!!!), yes they’ll say they’re catching the baddies!

But dear ‘p.i.’, you won’t fool anyone who has an insurance claim… you’re clear as day to us, we know you really look like this behind your disguise. You are, in fact… a clown.

Independent Medical Examinations


Well first I have to express my confusion with the use of the word ‘independent’ in an insurance system. Independent from who? Independent for who? And why, in my case, am I, the injured worker, being ‘independently‘ examined? I’m not confused about my therapies, treatments, reports and diagnosis, I know what my situation is… if the insurer or insurer’s superior has an issue with any of this info then shouldn’t my practitioners be assessed? And imagine, this wouldn’t have to be done often, certainly works for injured people, might even prevent them getting worse (hello, are the Gods of Government reading this?), eliminate shonky practitioners, and make insurance companies cough up to their responsibilities (well more like throwing up for them).

But back to the point of this post. I just wanted to show everyone how I feel after an ‘independent‘ medical examination…

(Totally drained and sucked dry. Water please anyone? Be back in a few days. Ink, pen and conte on paper. Not for sale.)

The system… it’s a circus!


I’m not sure if I can write this, I’ll soon find out I guess, but it’s my honest to goodness opinion from my experience as an injured worker with an active claim since March 2007, that our system is a circus! (I’ve already put it in writing to the Hon Gordon Rich-Phillips our Workcover Minister who you can directly voice your opinion to also via email here).

(hit play if you would like the full circus effect)

It leaves me confused. This is no Cirque du Soleil quality, there’s nothing spectacular here, I’m one of a huge crowd just leaving my money at the door. Most of the performers are really standard, they stare into space, none make eye contact, and they’re lifeless, bored, systematic, just doing their job and following the circus owner’s ancient instructions.

I believe getting better and getting back to work is my priority, my ‘job’ pardon the pun, and there hasn’t been a day I haven’t tried to do this. What makes me write this article however, is the disappointment when I get a ticket in the mail and have to attend the circus. It’s a boulder in my way to recovery, a performance I don’t need to watch, nor is it good for me, in fact the performers don’t care about me, never really look into my eyes and focus on my path so I can speed up to my mission. No, they slow me down in fact, add more and more performances for me to watch, they even get me to perform at some!!!!

My intention for this post is good, I mean no disrespect to all the individual, independent (I love that word!) organisations and bodies who, even though must abide by the circus owner’s instructions, are there to ‘independently’ assist me as best they can, and at times, I’ve had a couple of great performers, but, as time goes by and I become an older (more expensive) client, they in turn become helpless to my mission and the circus comes to town more often.

I’ve found great pain relief now, I’m on a great path and I was excited, I called to share my resource thinking this was great news for other injured workers also but no… my resource doesn’t fit the act, she’ll never perform in this circus tent.

As a result, and like many other injured workers, I’m left to pay for my own medical expenses now. I received another ticket to the circus, but I just can’t do it, I can’t go to one more show and I called the ‘independent’ body to say I’m giving up, there’s no point in seeing the next show because, as he explained to me, I’d have to go to one of two more performances to fight my cause after attending the initial circus. Oh, I’m tired, enough with the acts, too many clowns for my liking. I want to save my energy for my mission. I want to get better and go back to work, is anyone listening?

And to make you laugh even more, I even paid for my own insurance, I was self employed. Yep, but I get something very special for that, I get extra letters!!! Anytime the circus comes to town one letter comes to me (the injured worker) and one more to me, (the employer) it’s very entertaining!

It isn’t really funny… actually, saddest of all, if the acts were of better quality, tailored their show more, made eye contact, listened to their audience, I would have had a better shot at recovery and maybe even been back at work by now.

Did anyone hear me? Did anyone in the circus read my story? Please comment below, I’m sure injured workers would love to hear from you.

Does it hurt here?


Aaaaaa… no, I have lower back pain!!!!

Thankfully I can report this only happened once. Perhaps this Independent Medical Examiner was super thorough. Although I wish he’d used his time to listen more carefully though. Could have done with a more accurate report and one that didn’t specify I was fit to distribute leaflets!

Poor excuses


Oh go on, let’s have some fun. What’s the poorest excuse you’ve heard from your WorkSafe Agent/Case Manager or employee from a related body and don’t name names, but let’s have a laugh… at their expense for a change.

  • Your back issue is a gynecological condition (Case Manager, Conciliator’s assistant, WorkSafe Agent)
  • Your Neurosurgeon doesn’t know how to write reports (Case Manager)
  • You have a Psychological Condition (WorkSafe Agent, Conciliator, Independent Medical Examiner, Case Manager)
  • You’re fit to deliver pamphlets (WorkSafe Agent, IME)
  • “Did you put your Sunday best on for me?” (IME)
  • WorkSafe don’t want to be seen paying for implants (Case Manager)
  • Do you know how many people want to close their businesses and live on the Government system? (Case Manager)
  • Tell me what report you want and I’ll tell you which building you can go to get it (One of the few honest employees in the System)
  • Your circumstances have changed (Case Manager)
  • No excuse, ignored/no return communication (Case Manager, Conciliator)
  • I cost the insurer $600 when I couldn’t attend an ‘independent’ medical examination and called to postpone my appointment (Case Manager)
  • The Independent Medical Practitioner you will be seeing will depend on who’s available at the time (this was when I asked if I would be seeing a Neurologist or an Orthopedic Surgeon)

Is the system letting you down? Then sign up, here.

  • Do you feel you could have been back at work if you had better treatment?
  • Are you astounded at some of the treatment and find it hard to believe this is an Australian system?
  • Feel traumatised after some appointments or phone calls?
  • Do you feel the WorkCover system makes it difficult rather than be helpful to recover and return to work?
  • Are you ignored, still waiting for your case manager’s reply from weeks ago (and wondering if they’re even still there)?
  • Are you lacking appropriate care and help?
  • Are you part of the WorkCover system and receive letters that state your payments or medical and like expenses are going to be terminated when you still can’t work and have a valid capacity report?
  • Have you had to attend Conciliation when you felt it was unnecessary?
  • Have you been told you have a ‘psychological condition’?
  • Have you heard many other poor and unnecessary comments that have aggravated you?
  • Do you feel the system actually makes your chances of recovery harder?
  • Do you find other ‘independent’ Government bodies associated with the system inconsistent and provide you with conflicting information?
  • Do you feel defeated, even looked down upon at times?

It’s probably the only ‘urge’ I’ll make on this site but in order to better our WorkCover system so we more effectively get injured workers better and back to work we have to speak up. The Hon Gordon Rich-Phillips has a direct email form on his profile page.

You are welcome to post here and start a conversation but please stay calm, keep it clean, I will not approve inappropriate comments!

Case managers, how many have you had?


Since March 2007 I can say I’ve had two professional case managers. This doesn’t mean they were able to help me, let’s face it they’re hands are legislationly tied, and they only have a couple of random, template suggestions for you every time you need support, and one of those is usually a cop out like this:

“Soula do you know how many people want to shut their business down and live off the Government payroll?”.

I even got an accidental reply after complaining about my insurer’s request to send me to more unnecessary Independent Medical Examinations (IME’s) just 6 months after a Medical Panel Opinion stated I was indefinitely unfit for duty. The message was obviously meant to go to my Case Manager’s superior but accidentally came back to me. Oops!

“I wonder what set her off today.
Do you think I should respond or let her cool off ????”

Very telling of the Insurer’s work environment and their attitude to injured workers.

But you can tell which case managers have empathy and care, and want to help you. In my first phase of Workcover I had a lot of support but something changed after becoming a ‘long term client’. I only had one more case manager who I could say really tried to help me… One since 2008!!!

High staff turn over, to me, translated as ‘Insurer has a care factor of 0‘ or more so ‘dumped me‘. It also tells me how grueling the job must be and that’s no surprise to anyone who’s dealt with the system.

My current status is limbo… no case manager!

How many case managers have you had?

The Return to Work Knowledge Base


The Return To Work Knowledge Base

Research on the subject of returning to work after an illness or injury has been identified and translated into simple English here.  The articles are written in an easy to read format with perspectives on the evidence presented for Employees, Employers, Health Professionals and Insurers.

Articles and resources have been collected into these four groups.  Navigate the site using the group summary pages.  These are accessible from the home page or the tabs above. The navigation  menus display topics and sub topics.  Alternatively all articles are listed under a single tab or the search function will list results for any term.

The Knowledge Base was developed by the Foundation for Research into Injury and Illness in the Workplace Inc (ResWorks). 


Occupational physicians


I am amazed at how occupational physicians translate what I tell them.  They seem to add like this: 1 + 1 = 10!!!

Soula: I have a 1 kilo weight limit at the best of times
Occupational Physician suggestion for work: Delivering pamphlets.

So my pamphlets will magically float with me and I will reach, gently so I don’t disrupt my chronic back issue, and pull one from the air placing it in the designated mailbox which will conveniently, always be at the appropriate height for me. Voila!

Workcover, did you really pay for this advice?

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Definitions of pain

What is Pudendal Neuralgia (PN)?
Most simply put PN is Carpal Tunnel in the pelvis/buttocks. Compression of the Pudendal Nerve occurs after trauma to the pelvis and is aggravated with pressure. The pain is often described as a toothache like pain, with spasms, sensations of tingling, numbness, or burning. It can be very debilitating.

What is Neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is the result of an injury or malfunction in the peripheral or central nervous system. The pain is often triggered by an injury, but this injury may or may not involve actual damage to the nervous system. More…

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