I am occupational physician, Dr Peter Sharman. I work in a private medical practice in Hobart, Tasmania – the southernmost state of Australia.
In my practice I see workers referred by their general practitioners with various types of work-related injuries. These are mostly musculoskeletal injuries, both of traumatic and gradual onset as well as various associated psychological disorders. With interaction with patients for treatment and providing advice about rehabilitation, I have the opportunity, first-hand, to observe interactions between individual patients and complex compensation systems. I interact with other doctors who undertake similar work. I also conduct independent medical assessments, including impairment assessments for musculoskeletal injuries and asbestos-related disease compensation.
In Tasmania the state-based workers compensation system is overseen by WorkCover Tasmania, but private insurance companies carry the liability. These companies insure businesses and manage their injury claims in return for an experience-based premium paid directly by the business. There is also a compensation system for people injured in motor vehicle accidents, the Motor Accident Insurance Board (MAIB). Some workers in Tasmania are covered for workers compensation by Comcare, the federal government body set up to provide compensation for employees of federal agencies, like the Tax Office and Centrelink. Some larger national employers also use the Comcare compensation model.
I hope to contribute to improvements in these systems by making constructive comments based on first hand experience as both a treating practitioner and independent medical assessor. Any opinions expressed are my own.
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