WRP Standards at Risk from Red-Tape Reduction


Red tape

The Tasmanian Government has embarked on a ‘Red-Tape Reduction’ Review in relation to the state-based Workers Compensation System. The review process is overseen by the WorkSafe Tasmania and the WorkCover Board.

Following a consultation process with the stakeholders the final consultation draft has been released for comment. See link below:

Summary of proposed changes January 2016

A proposal of particular concern is included in Item 3, relating to accreditation of workplace rehabilitation providers (WRP’s).

The proposal is stated as:

‘Remove accreditation of rehabilitation providers only’

This proposal is contrary to the recommendations of the peak professional bodies representing rehabilitation providers and moves the system in a direction opposite to that proposed by the AMA in a recent submission to the WorkCover Board. See link to AMA submission below:

The Medical Voice for Health Outcomes

Doctors have expressed concerns about lack of professionalism and independence by some practitioners who fulfil the rehabilitation provider role on behalf of employers and insurers. Removal of accreditation requirements can only make that worse.

The Tasmanian Association of Vocational Rehabilitation Providers has commented as follows:

Proposed Removal of WRP Accreditation letter Feb 2016

At present organisations, rather than individuals, are accredited in Tasmania if they provide any of the following services:

  •   initial workplace rehabilitation assessment 
  •  assessment of the functional capacity of a worker 
  •  workplace assessment 
  •  job analysis 
  •  advice concerning job modification 
  •  rehabilitation counselling 
  •  vocational assessment 
  •  advice or assistance in relation to job seeking 
  •  advice or assistance in arranging vocation re-education or retraining. 

See link to details of current accreditation requirement:


The AMA has suggested that accreditation for WRP’s should be at the individual level, not organisational level and include practitioners who operate independently to organise rehabilitation programmes and offer ‘case management’ services, not just the services currently defined. A WRP has an important role in support and facilitation of RTW and done poorly can have significant adverse consequences for the case outcome.

Injury Management Co-ordinators (IMC’s) as defined under Tasmanian Legislation, have a role in developing Injury Management Plans, but they now commonly work in a similar role to that of a rehabilitation provider, without a requirement for appropriate qualifications or accreditation.

Many IMC’s and some WRP’s do not have qualifications registrable with AHPRA and there is clearly a need for professional standards and accreditation.


The proposal to remove WRP accreditation is regressive and has the potential to worsen outcomes for those injured at work and in need of professional rehabilitation assistance. Accreditation requirements, particularly for practitioners without existing AHPRA registration, need to be extended rather than relaxed.



About Tasworkdoc

As an occupational physician in private medical practice in Hobart, Tasmania - the southernmost state of Australia, I see workers referred by their general practitioners with various types of work-related injuries and diseases. 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 compensation systems. I also conduct independent medical assessments, including impairment assessments for musculoskeletal injuries and asbestos-related disease compensation. This provides another perspective of workers within compensation systems.
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3 Responses to WRP Standards at Risk from Red-Tape Reduction

  1. Tasworkdoc says:

    I am disappointed that although this article is being looked at by many people, no one seems to want to comment on-line!

    I will however copy a comment on LinkedIn from Wade Kajewski:
    “I was interested to read this article but I could not open the link. I’m not sure what the requirements are in Tas but I know in Qld they removed the need for formal RTWC certification some time ago (just as they dispensed the need to be an ‘accredited’ claims officer) and basically replaced it with the philosophy that whoever is appointed to such a role should be a ‘suitably qualified person’. Determining who fits into this category essentially came down to the employer though.

    Whilst the idea of accreditation is good, it really comes down to how the individual approaches the role and what their philosophies are. Two people can have the same ‘paper’ accreditation yet how they perform their roles, and how effective they are in doing this, can be poles apart and not influenced by a certificate that says you have completed a course. Therefore, I don’t think ‘accreditation’ is the be all and end all.”

    My response to Wade is that I agree that individuals vary in their approach, but accreditation does set a standard. My experience of the standard accepted as reasonable by some employers and insurers can be quite variable. There is a place for necessary ‘Red-Tape’ with Government involvement, particularly in Tasmania with an underwritten scheme where the insurers carry the liability and have a lot of autonomy in the management of claims.

    I hope we can get some more comments.

    • Danielle says:

      interesting view – if accreditation for rehab isnt important – why do we have a group of doctors that see it as necessary to have an Occupational “qualification in order to treat people with workplace injury appropriately? Having worked extensively in this industry for more than 20 years, the OP’s are the first ones to say that injured worked should be sent to them as they are “accredited’ to manage them.

  2. Tasworkdoc says:

    Here are some further comments on the LinkedIn Group – Workers Compensation Australia:

    From Tatjana Jokic

    “I’ll be game & comment! I think removing accreditation is quite a concern, it has taken a lot over the past 3-4 years to improve the standards of workplace rehabilitation in Tasmania. The article states that it is proposing this change as a ‘Red-Tape Reduction’, whilst there is an application to become accredited, it really isn’t that bad. Tasmania is one of the most easy, non-red tape states to get accreditation. With accreditation, I think it makes sense to keep it, you need to benchmark & monitor providers. The article states a lot don’t have AHPRA accreditation, this isn’t the case for WRP as you must be accredited by your professional body in order to do any of the listed tasks. The only role that you don’t need accreditation is the job seeking component – yet an accredited case manager works alongside the employment consultant. If you move it to individual based accreditation, it then becomes too difficult to monitor all such providers, you’re not really reducing red-tape.”

    and from Susie Irvine:

    “The current accreditation requirements are not really forcing people to jump through hoops of fire to be a WRP at present. Removing this requirement is a concern. The high standard level of knowledge and professional service delivery will be affected by this move and the RTW process will suffer.”

    Getting a lot of local Tasmanian Readers, but non-one really game locally to comment on line – lots of direct personal feedback in support of accreditation though!

    Peter Sharman

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