Recovering at work: the process starts with treating medical providers

WorkCover Queensland uses the information you provide on medical certificates to identify and initiate an injured worker’s rehabilitation plan.

Completing a medical certificate and providing as much information as possible also helps us understand what treatment is required and how we can help the worker stay at, or return to work as soon as possible following a workplace injury.

We support the health benefits of work and believe work is good for peoples’ health and wellbeing.

WorkCover Queensland Customer Services Manager, Laurent Cazier says we encourage all parties, including the employer, injured worker and treating medical providers to encourage and enable ‘recovery’ at work.

“This can be achieved via suitable duties, which can involve lighter tasks that may be different to the worker’s pre-injury role, but allows them to remain at work while they recover.

“We encourage all parties to focus on what the worker can do, not what they can’t. Therefore it’s important to identify from the outset what the worker can do despite their injury and what tasks they may be able to perform at work,” Laurent said.

If we have exhausted all return to work options with the pre-injury employer and they do not have any suitable duties, we may then source a host employer.

“We work with all parties to achieve a positive stay at, or prompt return to work outcome and if this can’t occur at the original place of employment, we will identify other opportunities for the worker.”

The less time someone is off work, the shorter the claim, the less WorkCover pays in workers’ compensation costs and thus the less impact it will have on the employer’s premium.

“A prompt return to work will also reduce disruption to the worker’s personal and work life, and disruption to the employer’s workplace and productivity. The information you provide on the medical certificate will help us work towards our goal of achieving a positive stay at work outcome,” Laurent added.

Medical certificates FAQs:

Am I required to complete every field on the medical certificate?

Yes. We are a medically managed model and as treating practitioner, your comments are invaluable to us. The information you provide helps us begin and improve a worker’s rehabilitation process. In some circumstances, we use your medical certificate to register a claim, contact the employer and coordinate the return to work plan promptly.

Should I use the Regulator's new medical certificates?

Yes. The new certificate is return to work focussed – research shows work is good for people and the new certificate promotes this, which we believe will help keep this message at the forefront of treatment and help us work with your patient. Please cease using old certificates. You can download the certificate from the Regulator's website or call 3020 6357.

Can I put a provisional diagnosis on a medical certificate if I’m waiting for further information?

Yes. This will provide us with an idea of the worker’s injury/illness, which we can consider for their rehabilitation. Please note in the appropriate field if your diagnosis is provisional. If your patient is suffering pain, please state the underlying diagnosis causing the pain rather than simply diagnosing pain.

Should I issue a workers’ compensation medical certificate for non-work related injuries?

No. The medical certificate should only be completed for injuries that are work related. You may wish to complete a non-workers’ compensation medical certificate for any injuries that are not work related.

How can I request someone from WorkCover to contact me?

Part C on the medical certificate is where you can request someone from WorkCover Queensland contacts you. We prefer to make verbal contact with medical and allied health providers. You can invoice us for your time (as long as the discussion is focused on the worker’s treatment and return to work) – item numbers are located on our website.

What happens if I certify someone is fit to work but there are no duties available?

Often an employer will be able to provide suitable duties that the worker may be unaware of. We know work is good for peoples’ health and wellbeing, so we will always try to exhaust all return to work possibilities with the pre-injury employer.

Clearly outline on the medical certificate the worker’s capacity for work, which we will discuss with the employer. If we can’t identify any duties with the employer, we may consider a host employment placement. This will enable a stay at work outcome. The worker will receive workers’ compensation regardless of whether they’re working with their pre-injury employer, at a host employer or if they require time off work to recover. We work towards the ‘same role, same employer’ outcome, where possible.

Can I backdate a medical certificate or issue a certificate because a patient asks for it?

No. At no time should you certify a patient for a period prior to the date of your consultation. Please only issue a workers’ compensation medical certificate if based on your medical opinion and after consultation with the patient, they legitimately need one.

Should I encourage the worker to advise their employer they have lodged a claim?

Yes. In most cases, the employer prefers to be advised about a claim by the worker. Please advise your patient to report and provide all documentation regarding their claim to their employer as soon as possible. This can also help the employer identify suitable duties and begin the rehabilitation process sooner.

Last updated
31 May 2016