WorkCover WA is often asked about an injured worker’s rights when an employer directs them to attend an employer nominated medical practitioner at the outset of a workers’ compensation claim. In addition there have been instances of employers insisting on attending a medical consultation with the worker’s treating medical practitioner.
Worker choice of treating medical practitioner
Injured workers have the right to choose their own treating medical practitioner for the purpose of medical treatment and initiating a workers’ compensation claim.
Employer attendance at medical consultations
There is no legal or operational basis for employers or their representatives to be present during a medical consultation between an injured worker and a treating doctor. This applies even when treatment is recommended or facilitated by the employer.
Case conferences, and less formal telephone conversations, are the appropriate forum for employers to engage in discussion on return to work issues with the injured worker’s treating medical practitioner.
A case conference is a planned and collaborative approach to discuss a worker’s recovery, capacity to work and to develop a ‘Return to Work Program’. Case conferences are not medical consultations but are meetings which encourage open communication between parties in the return to work process.