People with dust diseases like mesothelioma are receiving better care and accessing government assistance twice as fast, following the NSW Government's reforms to the workers compensation system in September 2015.
Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet said reforms to Dust Diseases Care – part of icare (Insurance & Care NSW) – was saving precious time for victims and their families, halving claim processing times from 136 to 66 days.
"If you are diagnosed with a dust disease, you need certainty, and you need fast, efficient access to care and assistance – there is no excuse for bureaucratic delays at such a difficult time.”
As well as halving average processing times, icare dust diseases care has met the Government’s new 2 day target for considering and approving claims (once processed) in 100% of cases.
Karen Banton, widow of asbestos disease advocate Bernie Banton who passed away in 2007, commended icare and DDC on the improvements made so far.
“People in this situation have often just been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease – a terminal diagnosis which completely throws your life upside down,” Mrs Banton said.
“To have a determination made on your compensation application with such expediency makes a huge difference to people’s lives. You’re not left wondering for weeks on end, so families can have certainty much faster on their claims outcome,” she said.
icare dust diseases care is also pursuing a range of innovative programs to improve flexibility and care options available to sufferers. These include funding new research into the detection and treatment of dust diseases, supporting new immunology-focused medical treatments for asbestos-related diseases, and offering metropolitan-based customers the choice to visit their own local specialist physician for medical visits.
“Many people with occupational dust diseases are elderly and need choice and control in the way healthcare services are delivered to them – these reforms are about putting the customer at the centre of decision-making,” Mr Perrottet said.
“We reformed DDC so that it would provide a better service for victims and their families, and while we have made huge inroads already, I am determined to continue to improve the care and support it offers.”