To the politicians and unions out there – please help to have this draconian legislation overturned: Injured nurse

We recently received a plea for help from Carl who is an injured nurse.  We expect, like Carl, that many seriously injured workers will now be subjected to the same hostile and unfair treatment by insurers under the new WorkCover laws in NSW.

Importantly, Carl refers to a recent Whole Person Impairment (WPI) assessment where he received a rating of 28%.  However, the Insurer now says they are refusing to recognise this latest report simply because under the new laws they are only required to use one report so they have reverted back to his previous WPI assessment that was around 14%.  Any suggestion of a lump sum payment has now been taken off the table and his condition will only deteriorate – as you’ll see his quality of life has and will continue to deteriorate.   The insurer is also likely to have him removed from the system since he is not regarded as being over the 20% threshold required for cover up to five years.

Here is Carl’s story

I’m a seriously injured Nurse and have been in the NSW Work Cover system for 11 years.

My back got worse over time. I had a procedure go wrong so now need to take epileptic medication for the rest of my life. I have pain standing up and the medication allows me to stand a little longer, reducing the pain. It’s expensive & not covered by Medicare. Without it, the full pain comes back and I can barely stand. I had invasive spinal surgery 11 months ago & had to pay for the surgery myself after waiting over 2 years to get the Insurer’s approval.

I was 1 month away from my whole person impairment and as the surgery is deemed as invasive to one’s person the Insurer new I would qualify for a whole person impairment above 15 % and said they would be open to lump sum compensation which would allow me some security & closure and to try to move on with my life as best as possible

Then Barry O’Farrell’s WC legislation tore up my Insurer’s existing liability to me, The Work Cover Medical Assessor who is a leading Neurologist said I have a Whole Person Impairment (WPI) of 28% but the Insurer now says they are refusing to recognise the report & won’t offer me any compensation, as I now have no entitlements in their eyes financial or medical even though they accepted full liability to my injury until age 65 I have that in writing from them , I feel like I have been abandoned by society & the NSW Govt,I can’t see a future for myself and I now live in fear of being homeless.

I can’t ever return to work as I can’t work and I have no qualifications (my Nursing Licence was revoked due to the time out of the job) and no superannuation (had to use this under ‘Financial Hardship’, whereby the Government took 21.5% in tax upon withdrawal, and as a direct result of Barry O’Farrell’s retrospective legislation, my mental health (which was already suffering afters years in the NSW Work Cover system) has spiralled downwards significantly.

I have been to hospital with recurring chest pain, have been contemplating suicide and I am also now also on antidepressant medication. I have extremely poor concentration because of my pain issues and medication. I don’t even drive very often anymore because I’m trying to be responsible as I have such terrible concentration. I am now completely unemployable.

The retrospective element of the Work Cover legislation is defunct and fraudulent!!! The retrospectivity element directly attacks and steals the rights of some of the most seriously injured & vulnerable people in the Work Cover System – what do you say to the seriously Injured Workers with Whole Person Impairments above 15% who qualified for significant lump sum compensation, but for various reasons were denied such compensation by Work Cover as they were deemed as vulnerable and that they would be better protected by being retained under the Work Cover system – a system where such protection no longer is afforded.

Retrospective legislation is nothing more than a $4.1 billion fraudulent gift card to Insurance Companies it is imperative that when re-debated in Parliament, that the retrospective element of legislation be revoked the retro spective element of the legislation has allowed a selective retro – spective system to be created  where you have all essential health care workers’ rights protected under the old system except Nurses you have a system where an uninjured fire-fighter who sustains a work place injury 5 years from now will be protected with entitlements under the old system but an injured Nurse like myself who has already been seriously injured under the old system 95 years ago is dragged unwillingly into the new system with no further protective entitlements, this is sheer lunacy and testament to the incompetency of the O’ Farrell Government and highlights their inability to understand the complexities, and needs of the very system that they have ripped to pieces yet all the of the repercussions of their incompetency will be felt by and are to the detriment of the injured worker.

To the politicians and unions out there – please help to have this draconian legislation overturned. In my subjective experience dealing with with the Work Cover system for over 11 years has been a process of “deny, don’t assist and isolate – don’t communicate” I don’t believe my injury has been managed poorly – I don’t think it has been managed at all. I believe the system has failed me tremendously.

The endless harassment and denial of all recommendations which could help to manage my condition, access to diagnostic procedures, denied access to extensive rehabilitation, denied access to pain psychologists, denied access to re-training, denied access to surgery, not to mention the endless geriatric Doctor shopping, the Work Cover independent appeals processes which overturned every decision the Insurer’s doctors made against me time after time after time, the years of my life wasted in the process, the abuse and mental anguish that was attached to it’ll of the recommendations that were made suggesting ways to help rehabilitate me and were denied were made by medical specialists with whom I had no affiliation with and were denied every time even though the insurer said they accept full liability to my injury and that liability was never in dispute. In my opinion, I believe that with access to all of those things years earlier, that my surgery could have been avoided and a successful return to work could have been achieved the insurance company and work cover have collectively been more detrimental to my health than managing the life altering injury itself.

As much of a soul-draining experience that those 11 years have been, nothing compares to what the last 3 months have done to my mental and physical health as a direct effect of Barry O’Farrell’s retrospective legislation. I gave part of my spine to the NSW public hospital system, caring for others. Someone please care for me and give back the rights that have been stolen from me so that I can be afforded justice and have some closure to this nightmarish chapter of my life and so I don’t have to have a heart attack from the stress, die or end up homeless, living on the street or in a homeless shelter. Help I’m only 40 years old and have had my prime years ruined and constantly live in fear.