Occupational Health Society of Australia (WA Branch)

Seminar 31 October 2013

Long Duration Claims and Delays in Return to Work - What can be done about it?

Prompt return-to-work is essential to the health and welfare of injured workers.

A seminar to address long duration worker’s compensation claims – their increasing incidence and duration – was held on Thursday 31 October.  The objective of the seminar was to establish whether, and in what ways, the current process can be improved


Summary of Presentations

A brief summary of papers presented.



Long Duration Claims - Overview of Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management

                        Mr Chris White, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Legislation and Scheme Information, WorkCover WA

Long Duration Claims - Statistics

                        Ms Leona Glasby, Manager Research and Evaluation, Legislation and Scheme Information, 
                          WorkCover WA

Long Duration Claims - A Public Sector Snapshot

                        Ms Linda Thompson, RiskCover Services Manager, RiskCover WA


Role of the Insurance Sector in Achieving Prompt Return-to-work

                        Mr Craig Stewart, State Claims Manager WA, CGU

Rehabilitation and Return-to-Work

                        Ms Michelle Butler, President, Australian Rehabilitation Providers' Association (WA) 
                        Regional Manager WA, SA & NT, The Recovre Group

The Role of GPs in Return-to-Work Programs

                        Dr Dilip Sharma, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (WA)





Workers' Compensation Working Group

Notes from the meeting 15 August 2013

Pre-reading material for the meeting.

For Discussion

  • What is the cause of the continuing escalation in long duration claims at a time when the total number of claims is either stable or in mild decline?
  • Why is the cost of long duration claims continuing to escalate in a period of non-inflation?
  • 82% of premiums paid are absorbed by long duration claims and, in particular, those of 180 days or more.
  • Since 2007/08 the cost has increased by $100m or 22.27%.
  • Given the range of support/treatment services available why are injured persons not being returned to work earlier?
  • Are there bottlenecks in the system?
  • Is there a particular class of claims that pose problems?
  • Are mental disease claims having a negative effect?
  • Are the interests of individuals being respected/protected?
    (Have any surveys been conducted/or should there be?)
  • Is there an alternative mechanism available to ensure long duration claims are being treated promptly and in a co-ordinated way?
  • How can we find out what, if anything, is going amiss?

Possible Seminar Objectives

  • To establish whether those persons with claims of potential long duration are receiving prompt, appropriate and co-ordinated treatment; or


  • To determine whether there is a timely co-ordinated approach to coordinate the treatment and return to work of injured claimants.


  • To determine why long duration claimants are experiencing increasingly longer periods before return to work.