Injured workers’ stories is key to campaign

If you have ever received workers compensation Unions NSW would like you complete its latest online survey.

Unions NSW is keen to let the Coalition Government know exactly how its drastic 2012 workers compensation changes are impacting on the lives of injured workers, as the NSW Government has announced it will review the legislation.

The key to fighting these savage cuts is to highlight the stories of injured workers. Survey results will be compiled into a report to be presented to the NSW Government and Opposition.

Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon said even if you have completed Unions NSW workers compensation surveys in the past, your input would be appreciated again.

“We understand that workplace injuries are never static and they change as your health and circumstances do, so please fill us in on your latest experiences,” he said.

The survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/s/WorkersComp2014 and takes from 3–10 minutes depending on your circumstances.

Federation will also seek input into the legislative review.

Left in the lurch

The time limit on entitlements for medical treatment is a huge burden for injured workers.

Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Act Section 59A (2) states: “If weekly payments of compensation are or have been paid or payable to the worker, compensation is not payable under this Division in respect of any treatment, service or assistance given or provided more than 12 months after the worker ceased to be entitled to weekly payments of compensation.”

Case study

The following case study, involving a teacher who fell and injured both knees, illustrates the impact of the legislation.

I only learned about Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Act Section 59A (2) four and a half weeks after the 12 month time limit on entitlements for medical treatment ceased. Requested surgery to my right foot was nine days outside the timeframe and required surgery for my right knee had not yet been requested.

Surgery to my left knee was approved (three months after the request was made) after intervention from a WorkCover Independent

Review Officer on the grounds that the request for surgery had been made within the 12 month time limit. I am not covered for any treatment in the three months prior to surgery on my left knee due to Section 59A. I am only covered for the pre-operative scans and the surgery; with the promise of rehabilitation but no commitment on duration or type.

Once I return to work post-surgery and weekly workers compensation payments stop I will not be covered for any on-going treatment or services including post-operative check-ups/scans or any complication that may arise. In addition, replacement of my unicompartmental knee prosthesis once it wears out in 10 to 15 years will not be covered.

My right knee will involve major surgery (a bone graft and knee replacement) the recovery from which will require significantly more than my accumulated sick leave.

I have been placed in a vulnerable and precarious situation, both financially and physically, as a direct result of this legislation.