Procedural Direction PIC11 – Medical Assessments Procedure – COVID-19
This Procedural Direction sets out the requirements that must be satisfied by a worker/claimant for an in-person medical assessment to proceed during the pandemic.
This Procedural Direction applies to: Workers Compensation Division and Motor Accidents Division
Date of commencement: This version, dated 1 February 2022 replaces the 25 October 2021 version of the PD (which is not of any force and effect) from 1 February 2022.
- The Commission is committed to delivering services efficiently during the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff, members, service partners, parties to proceedings, their legal representatives, and any other person involved in Commission proceedings. This Procedural Direction sets out the requirements that must be satisfied by a worker/claimant for an in-person medical assessment to proceed until further notice.
- This Procedural Direction is made by the President under section 21 of the Personal Injury Commission Act 2020 (PIC Act).
- The President, Principal Registrar or a Division Head may excuse a party from complying with any aspect of this Procedural Direction before or after the time for compliance with any action required.
- Subject to paragraph 3, nothing in this Procedural Direction prevents the President or a member directing a party to take any appropriate step in proceedings.
- This Procedural Direction is to be read with, and subject to, any provision of the PIC Act, the enabling legislation, and the Personal Injury Commission Rules 2021 (PIC Rules).
Applicable legislation and rules
- Parties should be familiar with the following:
- section 3 of the PIC Act, which sets out the objects of the PIC Act;
- part 5 of the PIC Act, which sets out the practice of the Commission, and
- part 2 of the PIC Rules.
- Until further notice, medical assessments will be conducted by audio-visual link or ‘on the papers’ or a combination of both methods, if the Medical Assessor is satisfied that this is appropriate, and the parties agree to this method.
- Subject to paragraph 7, an in-person assessment will only be conducted if the following conditions are met:
- Participants in the assessment:
- are not COVID-19 positive;
- are not a close contact of a person with COVID-19 and required to isolate for that or any other reason, or
- do not have COVID-19 like symptoms.
- the worker/claimant has had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, with the second dose undertaken at least 14 days before the date of the in-person assessment arranged by the Commission;
- the worker/claimant has received a negative COVID-19 result for a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) that was administered at the premises of the Medical Assessor, shortly before the scheduled assessment – the Medical Assessor will supply the RAT to the worker/claimant, will determine how the RAT will be administered and how the result will be monitored and collected;
- the worker/claimant has given the Medical Assessor proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status immediately before the in-person assessment is conducted;
- the worker/claimant complies with the Commission’s Protocol for Medical Assessments During Coronavirus Pandemic and any other COVID-safe measures in place, including wearing a mask during attendance at the in-person assessment and the Medical Assessor’s COVID-19 protocols, and
- the worker/claimant agrees to follow the reasonable directions of the Medical Assessor during the assessment and to behave courteously and respectfully towards the Medical Assessor and their staff, and Commission staff.
- Participants in the assessment:
- If a worker/claimant has received a positive COVID-19 result for a RAT that was administered at the premises of the Medical Assessor, shortly before the scheduled assessment (see paragraph 8(c) above), the assessment will not proceed, the Medical Assessor will advise the Commission as soon as reasonably practicable, and the assessment will be rescheduled.
- Other persons may only attend an assessment in person in exceptional circumstances, approved by the President or Principal Registrar. A written application can be submitted to the President. Exceptional circumstances may include where the other person:
- is a guardian of a child being assessed;
- is a support person of a person with a psychological injury or illness;
- is a carer of a person with physical or cognitive disability who is being assessed, or
- is an interpreter who is not able to attend by audio-visual link or telephone because it is not suitable that they do so, for example, to assist someone being assessed who has difficulty hearing and may not be able to be assisted by an interpreter who joins the assessment by online means.
- Such other persons approved to attend an in-person assessment must also comply with the requirements imposed on a worker/claimant set out above at paragraph 8(a)-(f).
- Proof of vaccination status must be in the following form, as referred to on the NSW Government website external site (www.nsw.gov.au):
- COVID-19 digital certificate, or
- immunisation history statement.
- Where an in-person assessment cannot proceed by audio-visual link and/or ‘on the papers’, and where the worker/claimant (and other person) cannot comply with paragraph 8(a)-(f) and/or does not wish to participate in an in-person assessment due to the coronavirus pandemic the matter will be:
- referred for mediation, and/or
- deferred until a further notice.