Doctors will be taking a new approach to work-related injuries with the new Work Capacity Certificate which came into effect on 1 July, 2016.
The old medical certificate system, which will be phased out over the next six months, focused on what restrictions and limitations had to be in place because of an injury. The new certificate highlights the capabilities of injured workers, which then supports the earliest possible return to meaningful work. The change is designed to acknowledge the scientific views which purport the health benefits of work. The idea is to rehabilitate injured workers by getting them back on the job as soon as it is practical to do so.
The theory is that work plays an important role in the rehabilitation process because ‘doing’ promotes recovery. Workers have only a 70% chance of returning to work after being absent for one month, and that drops to just 35% after two months away. The new certificate has been developed with input from the medical and legal professions, as well as insurer, union and employer representatives, to ensure a fully supported and smooth rollout, with full implementation by 1 January 2017.
For more information about the work capacity certificate visit www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/medicalsupport or call 1300 362 128. There is also an upcoming webinar on July 26 which will provide a briefing on this issue (see details below).