In a recent legal case, a well known law firm (Galbally & O Bryan) that advised an injured nurse against suing her employer for loss of earnings was found negligent in advising her not to settle her claim.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association featured a comprehensive write-up regarding the famous work capacity assessments and decisions, which may help NSW injured nurses (and NSW injured workers) better understand how these work capacity assessments and decisions work. The article also provides a very handy telephone number to the Nurses and midwives’ Association for injured nurses who need assistance and/or advice re their “assessments”.
“Madame Zena” came across a poignant and moving essay published by an anonymous author in the USA.
The essay talks of the unique and deep sense of betrayal felt by injured nurses when they are abandoned in the “temple of healing”.
Our co-author, Madame Zena, just saw this alarming article in today’s “The Australian” that is likely to be of interest to our many injured nurses readers and their supporters.
Maximum jail sentences for people convicted of assaulting South Australian hospital staff will be increased by five years. Extending the reaches of these new laws to GP and health clinics will be moving in the right direction.
Yes, where is the justice? THREE years after a nightmare ditching into the sea off Norfolk Island destroyed her life, former CareFlight nurse Karen Casey is battling nerve and neck damage that renders her unable to work and is using her superannuation to pay living expenses. This scenario is all too common as many injured workers know.
We received an email from a former case manager who shares with us a candidate [case manager] for the worst claim handling she ever saw. This claim also turned up in a workers compensation claim file audit. A case manager was handling claims for a statewide private hospital chain. And oh Boy, all of the following mistakes were on one workcover file…rendering an injured nurse just about 100% impaired and with a shattered life.
I liked this article writes an injured worker. Bullies hate whistleblowers. Oh so true. When I was the OHS representative and the union rep on our ward, a patient died due to our CSC refusal to provide adequate equipment to monitor patients who were classed as critical. Not one Blood pressure machine worked. ( this is the truth, appalling for a public hospital! An inquest is still continuing) The senior staffers blew the whistle….
A Canberra Hospital nurse almost killed on the job by an electric shock says she has exposed serious flaws in the official report into her accident, saying the mishap ended her nursing career and plunged her into financial crisis.
Injured nurse exposed serious flaws in official report into her workplace accident
Hospital ‘avoiding’ liabilityPhillip Thomson – ACT News
Nurse Kate Virtue has come forward for the first time to say the publicly released ACT government report wrongly claims she returned to work after just three days.
Two years after being thrown up to three metres across a room by an electric shock, she has confirmed she never resumed work at the hospital.
She told the Sunday Canberra Times she was still on cardiac medication and suffers from other serious ongoing medical problems. She has had to rely on financial support from her family to support her two children.
”I feel they tried to sweep this case under the carpet,” she said. ”[It is] as if they’re trying to avoid recognising the significance of the accident.”
Ms Virtue said she attempted three return-to-work programs at Canberra Hospital, the first of which was several months after the accident.
These failed to get her back to work at the hospital where she had worked for most of the past 19 years as a registered nurse.
To make matters worse, Ms Virtue said she had temporarily reduced her working hours to eight hours a week because of family reasons.
She was due to return to at least three times this amount of hours the week following the accident.
The fact she was working fewer hours at the time of the incident meant her weekly payments from Comcare – which has not paid her a lump sum – were considerably less than they could have been.
In July 2010, Ms Virtue was working in the surgical recovery unit when she received an electric shock, believed to have been caused by exposed wires in a power cord..
Liberal MLA Vicki Dunne will be taking Ms Virtue’s complaint to ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell who tabled the report in the assembly.
Ms Dunne said there had been not enough follow up by the hospital into Ms Virtue’s health.
After the report was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly, Ms Virtue complained in an email to a senior manager at WorkSafe ACT in August last year.
Work Safety commissioner Mark McCabe said there was no point interviewing Ms Virtue because the facts about what happened were easily established and not contested.
Mr McCabe said the inaccurate information provided to his office about when she returned to work did not change his assessment of the accident as being in the most serious category.
A Health Directorate spokeswoman said she could not discuss Ms Virtue’s specific case. However, injured staff were encouraged to return to work as part of a planned rehabilitation program when appropriate.
The NSW Nurses Association publish some really incisive articles. So, it’s worth re-capping and asking: Where are the broader proposals that put additional responsibilities for improving the scheme on employers, insurers and WorkCover?
The conditions were atrocious – a cold day with driving rain – yet more than 9000 people across NSW rallied against the state government’s attack on workers’ compensation.
A strong contingent of nurses rallied outside NSW Parliament House on June 13 with more than 7000 other workers. In Newcastle, 2000 turned out and in numerous other centres across NSW rallies were held to protest the O’Farrell Government’s attack on workers’ compensation.
The rallies were held on the eve of the Government introducing into Parliament a bill that would:
- reduce benefits after 13 weeks
- stop benefits after 2 1/2 years for workers with partial capacity
- stop medical payments after 1 year from the date a claim is made or weekly payments cease, whichever is larger
- remove journey claims
- limit access to lump sum payments
At the rally in Macquarie Street, Sydney, Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon blasted the government for its narrow approach to reform.
“When it comes to workers’ comp and reforming the system, the O’Farrell Government has one agenda – a free kick for employers. Forget better health outcomes for workers. Forget compelling employers to provide better return-to-work programs. Forget making insurance companies earn their money by better claims management. No, just once again, attack the worker,” he said.
“Where are the broader proposals that put additional responsibilities for improving the scheme on employers, insurers and WorkCover?”
He contested the government’s assertion that there is a crisis within the workers’ compensation scheme and said the latest attack was consistent with an anti-worker agenda that the government had been driving since elected.
“In the past 15 months this government has announced privatisations, cuts to entitlements, job cuts and the removal of workplace rights. And more in yesterday’s budget: 10,000 more jobs cut and another $1.2 billion cut to entitlements.”
Catastrophic for nurses
Several workers who will be badly prejudiced by the changes addressed the rally, including RN Emily Orchard.
“I injured my back at work while assisting in the resuscitation of a patient. It started a journey to hell and back. Life has been incredibly difficult. Every day I have pain. At every step the insurer has resisted paying for treatment,” she said.
Emily said the proposed changes to workers’ comp would see all support withdrawn after two-and-a-half years.
“This is a frightening prospect. Will I end up on a disability pension or the financial burden placed on my family? That’s not fair when I was injured doing my job.
“The planned reform on workers’ compensation is going to be catastrophic for workers.”
NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes says the changes will bite particularly hard for nurses.
“Hundreds of nurses and midwives, in public and private hospitals and aged care facilities, suffer serious injuries each year. These are not always high-profile injuries, but the ‘sprain and strain’ injuries nurses and midwives often suffer can cost them thousands in lost income under the current system.
“The O’Farrell Government plan will make those losses even worse, because it is not uncommon for these types of injuries, especially if they involve the back, to go on for months.
“A preliminary assessment of the O’Farrell Government plan, by the NSWNA, indicates that injured nurses and midwives could face, at least, a 20% pay cut in the fourth month after their work injury. For a fulltime, experienced Registered Nurse in a public hospital, that is a pay cut of nearly $300 per week.
“If they are injured for more than 13 weeks, for a fulltime Assistant in Nursing in an aged care facility, that is a pay cut of nearly $150 per week.”