This edition was issued on 19 October 2021
Welcome to the latest edition of Personal Injury Commission News, which focuses on the recommencement of in-person medical examinations from 25 October 2021 and the vaccination and testing requirements for those attending them.
Please familiarise yourself with these requirements to ensure you aware of the circumstances in which the assessments can proceed.
The Commission’s panel of Medical Assessors is looking forward to conducting assessments in-person again and the Commission is very keen to arrange them so that matters which have been held up due to pandemic-related restrictions can begin moving towards outcomes.
The recommencement of in-person medical assessments is a very positive development for the Commission. I’m pleased that the current pandemic and health response circumstances in NSW are enabling us to do this.
As we proceed along this path, I ask that everyone involved in the scheduling of and attendance at in-person assessments behaves with the utmost courtesy and consideration for other people. This has been a trying time for the entire NSW community and as such we all need to play our part in engaging in these processes with patience, kindness and respect.
I will be in touch with another edition of Personal Injury Commission News soon.
Judge Gerard Phillips President
In-Person Medical Assessments for Physical Injuries Recommence Monday 25 October 2021
Pleasingly, due to the progress in vaccinating the people of NSW and the relaxation of mobility restrictions, the Commission is now in a position to recommence in-person medical examinations for physical injuries from Monday 25 October 2021, provided certain vaccination and testing requirements are met.
The requirements for attending in-person medical assessments are provided in the:
- Protocols for Medical Assessments Conducted During Pandemic, and
- Procedural Direction PIC11 – Medical Assessments Procedure – COVID-19.
These been developed in a very considered fashion and are in the interests of meeting Work, Health and Safety requirements and keeping everyone involved in the examinations safe. This is particularly important given the health vulnerabilities of many of the people the Commission assists. Our settings are similar to those in place in multiple industries across NSW at the moment as organisations and businesses that require face-to-face interaction balance health risk and business continuity.
In summary, in-person medical assessments can proceed from Monday 25 October 2021 in situations where:
- The Medical Assessor and their staff are fully vaccinated (and received their second vaccine dose at least two weeks prior) and COVID-19 safe protocols are in place in respect of physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning, and administrative controls at their premises, and
- The injured claimant or worker and any support persons are fully vaccinated (and received their second vaccine dose at least two weeks prior) and have provided evidence of a negative COVID-19 swab result for a test administered within 72 hours of the medical assessment.
- An in-person assessment will not proceed if the claimant or worker does not meet the conditions outlined in the protocol.
- Support persons will only be able to attend in-person assessments in exceptional circumstances and with approval of the Commission’s President or Principal Registrar. Exceptional circumstances include the claimant/worker is a minor or has a disability or condition that requires the attendance of a carer or support person. See Procedural Direction PIC11 – Medical Assessments Procedure – COVID-19.
I strongly encourage all claimants and workers to get vaccinated. Those who are not double-vaccinated will only be able to be assessed via audio-visual methods at this stage.
These requirements will be revisited after 1 December 2021.
Any medical appointments that have been disrupted due to the COVID-19 restrictions between June to October 2021 should have a rescheduled appointment. The Commission will be systematically working through those appointments to confirm the COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements can be met.
If the status of an impacted appointment has not been confirmed by 1 December, contact the Dispute Officer, Dispute Support Officer or call 1800 742 679.
Psychiatric Medical Assessments Will Continue to be Conducted via Videoconference
The Commission will continue conducting the majority of psychiatric medical assessments via videoconference, provided this is agreed to by the parties. This method has proven to work well to date and reduces the risks associated with doctors and injured people meeting face to face.
In instances where a psychiatric examination must proceed in-person, the conditions listed in the Protocols for Medical Assessments Conducted During Pandemic must be met.
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