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We have put together information to keep injured or ill persons informed of what to expect.
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All employers play a crucial role in the prevention and management of workplace injuries.
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Information for Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses, Exercise Physiologists and Doctors.
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Other key stakeholders are also encouraged to provide Information and comments about issues of relevance .
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Home » Employers » More Useful Information » Types of Health Professionals Involved

Types of Health Professionals Involved


Medical care, treatment and the support of employers are essential to the injured worker making a speedy recovery.. Occupational Rehabilitation Providers are may also be necessary in facilitating a return to work program. Progress can stop when the right steps are not put in place.


Who Does What?


The Nominated Treating Doctor (NTD) heads the treatment team and makes referrals to all specialists and allied health care workers to provide necessary and reasonable treatments an injured worker needs to enable a quick recovery and to improve capacity to return to work. 

The NTD and allied health providers generally have to abide by administrative procedures devised by WorkCover. 


Medical Specialists

Medical Specialists  involved in Injury Management include:

  • Orthopaedic Surgeons are specialists who tend to specialise in joint reconstruction in areas such as knee, shoulder or elbows.
  • Neurosurgeons tend to specialise in brain surgery, peripheral nerve surgery,or  pain neurosurgery.
  • Sports Medicine Physicians treat injuries or illnesses resulting from participation in sports and athletic activity.
  • Neurologists are trained to investigate, diagnose and treat neurological disorders. It is a specialty related to the human nervous system which includes the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.
  • Rheumatologist’s  focus on treating rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders. Rheumatologists treat arthritis and autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal pain disorders and bone disorders such as osteoarthritis.
  • Psychiatrists can deal with psychoanalysis or psychotherapy, additiction issues and anxiety and depression
  • Physical medicine (pain) is a medical specialty that focuses on the management of somatic dysfunction, musculoskeletal disease, impaired function and disability.
  • Rehabilitation medicine (pain) takes into consideration biopsychosocial factors when assisting patients restore optimum function.


Allied Health Professionals


Allied Health involved in Injury Management include:

  • Psychologists are experts in human behaviour, having studied the brain, memory, learning, human development and the processes determining how people think, feel, behave and react. They use the latest research to develop effective therapies to overcome issues such as work stress, anxiety, pain and boost performance.
  • Occupational Therapists (OT) may work in a treating role in pain programs or hand therapy or with patients with brain and spinal injuries for example doing seating assessments. Many therapist work for occupational rehabilitation providers and coordinate the RTW program, sometimes do functional capacity assessments and ergonomic/workplace assessments to be able to negotiate the safe  and suitable duties so the injured person keep active at work. OT’s can also do Activity of Daily Living (ADL) assessments to maximise a person’s ability at home utilising support services and equipment and driving assessments.
  • Rehabilitation Counselors are also allied health professionals who work within a counselling and casemanagement  framework to assist people with and injury or disability to participate in employment or education or to live independently and access services in the community.
  • Exercise Physiologists (EP’s) specialise in the delivery of exercise, lifestyle and behavioural modification to promote your recovery. Injured workers often benefit from the benefits of increasing fitness and strength and the programs can be in your home or a gym type setting.
  • Osteopaths is an alternative therapy that recognise the body wants to heal itself and they holistically facilitate the process principally by the practice of manual and manipulative therapy and involving soft tissue work, and stretching. As Osteopaths don’t tend to train in hospitals or under the medical model they tend to be consulted when the medical model lets a person down ie. when they are chronic
  • Chiropractors use an alternative form of treatment concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractors primarily practice manual therapy with emphasis on manipulation of the spine. Most people consult a chiropractor for back pain.
  • Physiotherapists are primarily concerned with the remediation of impairments and disabilities and the promotion of mobility, functional ability through examination, diagnosis and physical intervention such as manipulation, ultrasound, stretching and strengthening. They are also interested in the causes of underlying pain whether in the joints, muscles or nerves. They also aim to education on how to manage a condition and prevent further pain or injury, such as back or neck, knee or shoulder pain.
  • Hand Therapists are often Occupational Therapists or Physiotherapists and they specifically treat hand and arm related injuries as a specialty.
  • Remedial massage therapists need to know anatomy and physiology to determine where to treat a patient. They treat strains, sprains or bruising where the skin is intact. Deep tissue massage removes blockages, damaged cells, scar tissue and adhesions left after injury and speeds up the healing process. Massage can be of benefit for back or overuse type injuries.
  • Hearing service providers such as auditometrist assess, treat (issues such as balance problems) and provide hearing aids


The role of Return to Work Coordinator

A company return to work coordinator should be nominated by an employer to help injured workers to return in a safe manner. The return to work coordinator can be a trained employee nominated by the employer, or a person / organisation  contracted specifically for this purpose.


The role of the Occupational Rehabilitation Providers

Occupational Rehabilitation providers must be accredited with Workcover NSW and are subject to ongoing administrative requirements.

Any party can request a referral to an external rehabilitation provider to nominate who that provider is.  The worker has the right to choose a provider of their own as they do with any treatment provider or their NTD.

Occupational Rehabilitation providers can organise various programs to help injured workers in returning to work. These include:

  • Short periods of work experience called work trials to assist them in developing or redeveloping skills, and to build up physical and psychological fitness
  • Formal retraining of skills at TAFE or university if the worker is unable to find suitable work after injury
  • Assessments  to help with purchasing equipment to modify the work environment to the injured worker’s needs
  • The Job Cover placement program (JPP), which provides a financial incentive to another employer to employ the injured worker.  In the case of a worker being injured, the employer, worker and insurer all have certain responsibilities to ensure that they are compensated, and given assistance so they can make a full recovery and return to work.

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