TPAV's historic win to improve mental health outcomes for memebrs

 

  • Members with psychological injuries to have Workcover claims automatically accepted for minimum of 13 weeks
  • Members to receive immediate treatment – at no cost to them - to provide best chance of full recovery and return to work
  • 12-month ‘Provisional Acceptance’ trial to commence June 17 in Victoria, - an Australian first!
  • Trial ends successful three-year campaign led by TPAV for ‘Provisional Acceptance’ model to be introduced

 

We’re delighted to announce that TPAV’s three-year campaign to have members’ Workcover claims for psychological injuries automatically accepted is set to become a reality. 

The Victorian Government has confirmed that a 12-month trial of a ‘Provisional Acceptance’ model will begin on June 17 that will enable members to have their claim for mental injuries automatically accepted for a minimum period of 13 weeks, during which time they will be able to have all expenses relating to their medical and like-expenses paid for.

This means that members will now be able to obtain the medical treatment they need immediately and provide them with the best possible chance to make a full recovery from their condition and return to work sooner.

This historic trial – the first of its kind in Australia – represents the culmination of an intense and sustained three-year campaign led by TPAV with the support of other emergency services unions.

TPAV secretary Wayne Gatt said the significance of this achievement can’t be underestimated.

“We’re immensely proud to have led this important campaign since we launched it in June 2016 when we released our landmark submission which made a compelling case for psychologically injured members to receive the immediate treatment they require, without having to deal with the usual obstacles, stigma and embarrassment that often comes with compensation claims involving mental health conditions.

“Make no mistake, this is a ground-breaking initiative which represents a major win for TPAV members and other Victorian emergency services workers”, said Wayne.

TPAV’s manager of Wellbeing Services, Tim Peck says the grim statistics around return to work rates for members who suffer psychological injury at work made the case to trial a new system a compelling one.

“Currently only one in three members who are away from their workplace for 70 days or more due to a mental health condition will return to work. It’s simply not good enough.

“The reason is that members typically don’t get treated early to give themselves the best chance of recovery. And the reason they don’t receive early treatment is because the Workcover system mitigates against this from occurring.

“Members are often not believed that they have a legitimate claim which often end up being rejected, so not only are they not getting the early and effective treatment they require to recover and return to work, but the associated stress surrounding their ordeal tends to worsen their condition.  

“This new initiative represents a circuit-breaker. Just knowing that their claim will be accepted for at least 13 weeks, will mean that members will get the treatment and engagement they need sooner, at no cost to them, so they give themselves the best chance of a full recovery and return to work. This is imperative, as the evidence shows this is the most effective way forward”, said Tim. 

The trial will apply to police and other emergency services workers as well as certain other groups of public sector workers.

Wayne says he is proud that TPAV has been at the forefront nationally in its campaign for this historic and ground-breaking trial that was three years in the making.

“This win would not have been possible without the regular feedback we’ve received from members who have suffered from work-related mental health conditions and who have told us their stories on the difficulties they’ve had to face under the current system.

“Their testimony has helped us make the irresistible case for change.

“We’re also grateful for the Victorian Government, WorkSafe and Victoria Police for their goodwill and cooperation in helping to facilitate this trial coming to fruition”.

How will the ‘Presumptive Illness’ trial work?

  • Members must submit a Workcover claim for their psychological injury, as per current procedures
  • Their claim must be accompanied by a ‘certificate of capacity’ from their medical professional
  • Members must submit their claim to Victoria Police, which is then managed by its Workcover insurer, Gallagher Bassett.
  • From June 17, members will have their claim ‘provisionally accepted’ for a period of 13 weeks. This means that all their medical and like expenses will be paid for during this time. 
  • While members can still have their claim ultimately denied, they will still be able to access treatment during the first 13 weeks, which experience tells us is the most difficult and challenging phase of a member’s recover when it comes to mental conditions.
  • Trial will be reviewed after 12 months
  • For further information about this trial, members are encouraged to call our Wellbeing Services section on (03) 9468 2600.

How TPAV’s campaign was won

  • In June 2016, TPAV, together with the Ambulance Union, launches its landmark submission to the Victorian Government entitled,“Trauma Doesn’t End When the Shift Does: PTSD as a presumptive illness for Emergency Services Workers”
  • TPAV makes multiple submissions to the Victorian Ombudsman during 2017 and 2018 as part of its investigation into the handling of workers compensation claims in Victoria
  • TPAV lobbies both sides of politics leading up to the November 2018 Victorian election to introduce a ‘Provisional Acceptance’ model in Victoria Police, which is outlined in our Your Safety: Our Priority 2017 – 2022 pre- election document.
  • TPAV secured commitments from both sides of politics to trial a ‘Provisional Acceptance’ model
  • Upon the re-election of the Labor Government, a working party was assembled to establish a suitable model for a trial
  • TPAV was a leading and active participant in a multi-agency working party which established the key elements of the ‘Provisional Acceptance’ model 12-month trial.
  • In state budget announced in late May, the Victorian Government allocated $4 million to fund the provisional acceptance trial commencing on June 17