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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 » Injured Workers » Common Problems with Injury Management » Nominated Treating Doctor Problems

Nominated Treating Doctor Problems


The skills, knowledge and experience an NTD has in managing a particular injury and in navigating the system has major implications for all stakeholders. If the injuries are not resolving, the NTD should be finding out why. To do this they need the knowledge and skills to be able to identify the factors that may be barriers to progress and treatment. This means that the NTD should also be aware of “yellow flags" including social and psychological barriers. Flags can include an unsupportive workplace or an extreme fear of re-injury being experienced by the worker. The NTD can provide the relevant support or referrals to address these barriers. Return to work outcomes continues to be affected when the barriers are not identified and / or appropriate actions to address them have not been initiated.


Not Acknowledging Secondary Psychological Problems


Many injured workers go on to develop anxiety and depression due to ongoing injury and resulting quality of life issues. A doctor who listens to patients concerns and clarifies issues can be helpful in alleviating concerns. Doctors who do not communicate effectively with the patient can sometimes create fear in the patient that their  injury is more serious than it is. This will reinforce avoidance of the worker to upgrade hours or even return to work.


Likewise a doctor who does not identify and address risky behaviours such as excessive medication and drug use to manage pain and symptoms beyond their real injury tolerances, is likely to end up with a patient who has a significant symptom relapse, injury and health complications and ultimately a poor return to work outcome.


Poor Communication and Team Work


If information is not provided to Agents, employers and treatment providers who are trying to support a worker to get better or return to work, inappropriate strategies and counterproductive attitudes with communication may result.   Employers who are not given clear guidelines on what duties should or shouldn’t be undertaken may provide work that is beyond the injured workers capacity and that results in re-injury, or at least tension and friction if the worker then refuses to do the task. Case conferences with all parties can be very effective to improve communication.


What you can do about it


1. Discuss your concerns with your NTD.   It is essential that your NTD not only manages your basic work injury,  but remains focussed and committed to supporting you with the other challenges that occur -  this may require a call to the Agent, a treatment provider or specialist or a request for a case conference. It is essential that communication is facilitated between all parties.


Encourage your NTD to assist with a “Team Approach” if your NTD hasn't initiated these actions themselves, or if you consistently feel you are not being supported adequately then consider changing your NTD.  Although WorkCover and the Agents generally do not like injured workers to change  NTD's ("doctor shopping") you can do so  if you have a good reason.  Accepted reasons may include: you have changed address, your NTD is  not available regularly enough. It is better to identify an alternative NTD and get them to make the contact with the Agent to notify them of the requested change.  

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