Your return to work obligations and right to private consultations

Increasingly, clients are raising privacy concerns in relation to medical appointments arranged between their doctors and return to work officers.

Under the Victorian Workers’ Compensation Legislation, an obligation is imparted on all workers to make every reasonable effort to return to work in suitable employment. Should this situation apply to you, you are to ensure that you actively participate and co-operate in the planning of your return to work.

In this context, behaving in a reasonable manner is to ensure that you respond calmly and rationally to any return to work plan. You are also obliged to discuss and consider the programs carefully with your treating doctors.
It is important to remember that you are entitled to suggest amendments or changes to a particular return to work program, however it is essential that you have your doctor’s support in any proposed alteration.

In relation to medical practitioners and their involvement with your workers’ compensation claim, no person, including vocational assessors, are allowed as a right into any private medical appointments that you would prefer to have one-on-one with your doctor. Should you not wish for a return to work officer or vocational assessor to attend a private consultation with your practitioner, you are entitled to refuse permission.

While keeping with the obligations set out in the Act, workers are still free to talk confidentially and privately with their doctors about any return to work plan.

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