Our clients pursuing claims for workers compensation often ask us if their employer can attend their medical appointments. In WA, WorkCover recently issued a notice on this subject. This move comes after concerns were raised including about privacy, the appropriateness of an employer learning a worker’s medical history sitting in with a doctor and on occasions poor behaviour.
In the ACT, it is common for a workers compensation insurer or a rehabilitation provider appointed by the insurer to want to attend medical appointments with the worker. And sometimes it’s fine and actually adds value, for example in getting medical certificates and other paperwork correct. Ultimately it is up to the injured worker to decide whether they are allowing the third party into their private medical appointments.
So is it ok for an injured worker to have them along? Yes, because if they are coming along as support or are not causing you any discomfort, there is no reason they can’t. No, because it is your treatment and it is up to you who, if anybody, attends the appointment with you. While employers or their insurers may be paying for these appointments as part of the workers compensation process, there is no obligation or necessity that they attend. Occasionally, rehabilitation providers may wish to attend an appointment with you for the purposes of a case conference or update. In those instances, you are allowed to see the doctor on your own before the rehabilitation provider may join the appointment. This is because you may have things you wish to discuss confidentially with your doctor, and you are allowed to do that before the case conference takes place.
It is also important to know that while employers and insurers may have preferred medical practitioners, it is up to the individual who needs the treatment to decide who they see for their treatment. If you have a workers compensation claim on the go and have concerns about the way you are being treated, call Blumers today on 6208 2600.