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Addressing doctors’ concerns about the Work capacity certificate

Dr Graeme Edwards responds to questions from doctors about the new Work capacity certificate – workers' compensation.

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Dr Graeme Edwards:

[Text on screen saying 'I have enough on my plate. Let the insurer deal with the employer.']

An insurer is not the medical practitioner. If you are busy invest a little bit of your time in understanding the resources that are available to you.

The first and most useful is the Capacity Certificate. Also you can use the Rehabilitation Coordinator as an extra pair of eyes and ears to understand the needs of your patient

[Text on screen saying 'I want to talk to my patients about getting back to work. Not spend time filling out forms.']

There is no doubt that talking to your patient is important. However so too is conveying to other stakeholders the messages that you have discussed with your patient. Otherwise the message can be distorted in the retelling.

The Certificate has been redesigned and refined to make it easier for you to facilitate, not hinder your discussion. As you work through the Certificate it will structure the conversation to make your life easier.

[Text on screen saying 'Can instead of can't. That's scary. What happens to me if something goes wrong?']

Your initial diagnosis is always a working hypothesis, a provisional diagnosis with greater or lesser uncertainty depending upon its appropriateness. We want you to work through and apply your professional skills whenever there is uncertainty.

To minimise any unexpected developments you can invite your patient and their employer to communicate with you as soon as possible. That way you can refine the diagnosis or treatment as necessary.

[Text on screen saying 'I am my patient's advocate. I can only go on what my patient says. It's so subjective. If they say 'workplace is dangerous', I don't know.']

I expect no less. You should only challenge the beliefs of your patient if you have a good reason to do so.

If you have an inkling something is not quite right there are a number of strategies that we can employ and we can explore those shortly.

[Text on screen saying 'I am not an expert in every role within every workplace, so how do I know what they can do?. I am there to treat my patient. What we need is guides. Tools to measure and safe rules.']

You don't need to be an expert. There are resources that have been developed and additional resources to be developed that will assist you.

During the Certificate consultation Queensland doctors have provided cases of varying complexity to make sure it meets your need.

[Text on screen saying 'I believe in work, in my country, we had to either work or die. So for me, to let people not work is bad. I ask myself when doing claims 'Am I becoming a bad guy?']

No. The evidence is clear. There are genuine health benefits of good work. So that makes you the good guy. [End of Transcript]

[End of Transcript]