Communicating with employers

Talking to your patient’s employer and case manager early during a work-related injury is an important part of helping your patient recover and return to work.

Identifying appropriate duties

As the nominated treating doctor (NTD), your primary tool of communicating with other groups during a work-related injury claim is the certificate of capacity. This provides key information regarding treatment, capacity for work, and any barriers which need to be addressed to assist you patient with their recovery.

Your patient is likely to benefit from recovering at work, and many employers are able to provide alternative duties, or support a return to work on fewer hours. 

If you are unclear on what the employer is able to provide, you can:

  • Ask your patient to talk to their employer or case manager
  • Contact your patient’s case manager
  • Contact your patient’s employer to discuss available options

If your patient has some capacity for suitable work, their employer is obligated to find suitable work for them, unless;

it is not reasonably practicable to provide suitable employment, or;

the worker voluntarily left the employment of the employer after the injury happened, or;

the employer terminated the worker’s employment after the injury happened other than for the reason that the worker was not fit for employment as a result of the injury. 

In some instances, an approved workplace rehabilitation provider may assist with identification of suitable duties and development of a return to work plan.

By working with your patient’s employer, you can help reduce the risks associated with taking longer periods of time off work, such as social isolation and depression.

An employer can provide you with a job description as well as a list of available duties within their workplace, which can then be reviewed by you to determine their appropriateness or suitability. Appropriate duties can then be recommended in the employer’s recover at work plan.

Developing a recover at work plan

A recover at work plan is specific to your patient’s situation and provides information relating to their recovery at or return to work. It is completed by the employer in consultation with your patient and their supervisor (if applicable), taking into account medical information provided by you (as their NTD) and any other treatment providers.

Completing a recover at work plan

A recover at work plan should outline:

  • Your patient's pre injury duties
  • Your patient's recover at work goal
  • Details of the current certificate of capacity
  • Details of suitable work
  • A date when the plan will be reviewed
  • Agreement to the plan by your patient’s supervisor and your patient with copies of the plan provided to the NTD and any other treatment providers.

Return to work programs