You know that feeling before something great is going to happen, like just arriving at the airport and knowing you're off on a great holiday? It's a great feeling isn't it? Makes your insides really happy, the body and mind get a lift, and troubles seem to slide away, everything feels like it's going to be alright. Well, I couldn't feel more the opposite right now. I have an appointment with the Convenor of Medical Panels on Tuesday and I'm feeling more like I'm facing a funeral.
My rants are plenty in regard to the WorkCover system and my efforts to express the limitations and lack of support I’ve experienced as an injured worker for almost 7 years have been endless. All efforts have led to the [...]
Surfing the many ‘pain’ forums you eventually get to ‘cyber’ know the regular contributors. One of my favorites to bump into is the highly accredited and regarded, John Quintner. I give full attention too John, he is a great support [...]
After speaking with Kris Vanston I now know that injured workers do have the Victorian Ombudsman to turn too for unfairness issues within the WorkCover system. I had my doubts about contesting my impairment score of 0% (that was deemed permanent I might add), as I am very well aware and have ranted aplenty about Chronic Pain NOT being acknowledged in the guidelines that are used to assess injured workers. That means there is Australian legislation (I'll rephrase; it is legal) for WorkSafe practitioners to ignore Chronic pain, thus Pudendal Neuralgia. No where within the system will any WorkCover practitioner be able to assess an injured worker's Chronic pain. I'm experiencing the result of this, I've been living this ignorance since March 2007. I wrote a letter that was ignored for a few months by our WorkCover Minister, WorkSafe and SafeWork Australia. The Victorian Ombudsman employee informed me not to use the 'info' email address but rather the 'enquiries' one when I'm writing to WorkSafe. Ridiculous but he was right and I eventually received a response. (Enter sarcasm) I now feel completely healed and completely relieved with the empty response I received. It managed to 'acknowledge', 'agree', 'assure' and confirm all the points relating to this outdated system that I initially made in my letter. I'm also more at ease knowing everyone who assessed me ignored all my symptoms and inabilities and that was legal. I'm also proud of the staff at WorkSafe who are happy to abide by ignorant and narrow-minded measures that would also apply to them in the event they injured themselves at work. Above all, I'm in awe of the WorkSafe staff and all related employees and practitioners who's reports are so loyal and discerning of these out-of-date AMA4 guidelines (with pain chapter removed), and The Accident Compensation Act 1987. This template response clearly indicated to me that anyone with chronic pain and with any of the following symptoms/limitations, as a result of a workplace accident will not get compensation: affected toilet function, spasms where you really don't want them, sensory pain (in my case throughout the pelvis), toothachey nerve pain, weakening legs, burning, zinging, if you have limited sitting ability, if you are limited in walking, standing, working, lifting, bending, exercising, if you have an implant as a result of pain (or even if you need one for that matter), if you rely on daily help, if you can't drive, shop, sit and type this damn email in one hit etc etc...! Well thank you WorkSafe for the 'quality' protection you promise. And Heidi just one question, would this letter have been acceptable for you if you were in my shoes?
For those subscribed to this Fair Assessment For Compensation post, I have had a reply and it is posted here! AN OPEN LETTER TO WORKSAFE AUSTRALIA (CC’d The Hon Gordon Rich-Philips) SUBJECT: FAIR ASSESSMENT FOR COMPENSATION? My name is Soula [...]
Did you all hear I'm back at work part time? Much thanks to our flexible home/office setup and Theo's immense help. Regardless, how lucky am I hey? But oops, hang on, I have to correct myself. It's not lucky for me, it's lucky for the WorkSafe Agent. And I must clarify because from their point of view I didn't get myself back to work, it had nothing to do with my research, the practitioners I found, their treatment and great therapies (or my hip pocket!). Nope, nothing to do with nerve blocks and medication, but rather, my high activity levels. Yeeees, I have been a full time artist and I've been caught red-handed!!! Well I'm sick of this crap! And this time, the story isn't going to end with me feeling anxious and swallowing those bits of paper, while the Investigators excuse themselves gutlessly with a letter marked 'Private and Confidential' that they send to the WorkSafe Agent. It's going to end here, on my blog. And I'm even going to have some fun while I'm at it! ...And if you're an investigator wanting to comment, don't bother! Your comments will be deleted. As I said, this time the story ends with me.
After a few battles regarding my massage treatments, peripheral stimulation implant and finally receiving a letter form my WorkSafe agent stating I would no longer be receiving medical reimbursements/support, I began a hunt for a deserving explanation... But back to my main point, the answer I was seeking. I called the contact the Hon Gordon Rich-Phillips advised and it led to a conversation with my WorkSafe Agent's Injury Management Advisor (IMA) and for once, I seemed to be having an open and honest conversation with a WorkSafe Agent employee. It's hard to say it was honest because this system has taught me not to trust anyone, sadly. It felt like a great relief to be speaking to an educated, intelligent, experienced and capable person... I didn't get invalid and poor excuses or worse still, lies. Every point I made was dealt with and the conversation was about me, my case and my specific issues... ...the grand finale was that the IMA was going to answer why my medical expenses support had ceased?
The condition and existing barriers to management and practice My understanding of a 'syndrome' is that it seems to remain myth-like until serious research is undertaken and repeatedly produces the same findings in many patients. The Research for Pudendal Neuralgia is minimal worldwide, almost non-existent in Australia. Although specialists and therapists are documenting their work Pudendal Neuralgia can't seem to penetrate its existence in Western Medicine's Bible, and so it is unrecognised, misunderstood or ignored. So when my physiotherapist at The Women's Hospital mentioned Alesha Sayner and I heard she was compiling a presentation for her Masters specifically about Pudendal Neuralgia, I jumped at the opportunity to hand over all my experience knowing this is exactly what the issue desperately needed. I was even more enthusiastic that Alesha was interested in documenting WorkCover's understanding (not) and treatment (not) for injured worker's with the issue. Thank you Alesha Sayner and The Women's Hospital for this huge first step, so crucial to Australian sufferers of Pudendal Neuralgia, such therapy for me too!
What would injured Australian workers do without the wonderful WorkCoverVictim'sDiary website, who alerted me to the Case Management Society of Australia(amongst some other goodies like 'the Deed' between WorkCover and all the Suppliers of delivery of the System!!! and The Ombudsman's report that shows the many breaches... hello, hello!)... One 'ethical' point:
- The Case Manager will consider the best interests of the client as paramount at all times