This edition was issued on 15 July 2021
Welcome to the latest edition of Personal Injury Commission News.
This edition provides updated information about the Commission’s response to the current pandemic conditions in New South Wales.
I will provide further updates on pandemic operations as the situation evolves.
Judge Gerard Phillips
Impact on Operations Related to COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders
The NSW Government announced yesterday that the stay-at-home orders for Greater Sydney will continue until Friday 30 July at this stage. As such, the changes to the Commission’s operations in response to the Public Health Orders have been extended and will now remain in place until that date. The arrangements for medical assessments, hearings and the Commission’s offices are available to view on the Commission’s website.
While the Commission has quickly adapted to the changing settings and continued providing its services for the injured people of NSW, the pandemic settings continue to impact the ability for claimants to attend face-to-face medical assessments.
While our medical assessors are well-versed in infection management and have proactively taken steps to protect themselves through vaccination and practice set up, the risks associated with the Delta variant remain too high for face-to-face assessments to take place. The Commission’s claimants, the medical specialists who assess them, their support staff and the greater community must be protected at this time.
As such, scheduled face-to-face medical assessments cannot proceed during the lockdown. Our team is continuing to reschedule these to the next available time during September. I am grateful to the parties and legal representatives for their understanding and cooperation to reschedule appointments. I’m also very appreciative of the flexibility and support the Commission’s medical assessor community is offering, both in terms of assisting with appointment reschedules and offering additional appointments.
It is fortunate that we have been able to proceed with the majority of psychiatric assessments across this time via videoconferences. These make up about a third of the appointments on hand and I thank our psychiatrists for offering this assistance.
Unfortunately, however, with each week that the lockdown extends, the Commission’s ability to avoid backlogs in face-to-face assessments diminishes. While we are busy converting or rescheduling the current appointments, new applications that will require medical assessments are also being lodged. There will be delays with assessments due to this lockdown as we comply with the Public Health Orders and keep everyone safe.
While the Commission continues implementing strategies to minimise disruption, I would appreciate the continued cooperation of the parties as we seek to reschedule appointments and attain outcomes for your injured claimants. I also encourage you to identify any claims that you think are suitable for audio-visual medical assessment or early mediation. If you are able to attain the consent of the other party for the claim to proceed in this way, please advise the Commission so that we can proceed on that basis.
I will continue monitoring the health advice and restrictions and adjust the Commission’s operations accordingly as the outbreak in Sydney continues. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue delivering our services for the injured people of New South Wales.
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