How policy makers shape (and sometimes shake) RTW

Influencing everything from the nitty gritty of workplace practices to the big-ticket items of legislation and scheme delivery, workers' compensation authorities and policy makers have a huge impact on RTW and recovery outcomes for injured workers. The resources on this page describe these impacts - and share ideas for improvement.

Is work good for you? Professor Kim Burton explains the UK's changing answer

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

In this interview with UK expert we learn that modern vocational rehabilitation is not about...

Finding the middle ground

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

Occupational therapist Kate Roylance was very surprised that many of you responded that...

The negative potential of performance bonuses

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

In the second part of RTW Matters' interview with Occupational Therapist Kate Roylance, she...

What is evidence based medicine and why do we need it?

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

What does "evidence based medicine" refer to exactly, and why should we care to know?

What is the value of research?

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

A look at why money spent on researching health is money spent well.

The Return to Work Coordinators' Code of Ethics

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

After return to work coordinators expressed to us a lack of formal guidance in their role as...

Returning to work in the Netherlands: a different approach

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

Dutch occupational physician Frederieke Schaafsma describes a new Netherlands system of return...

KPI vs care - which is winning?

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

A process-driven acrimonious workers' compensation system is a dark place - let's shed some...

Let's get ethical, ethical

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

A code of ethics would have helped former return to work coordinator 'Layla' to educate injured...

Top ten reasons to have a health and wellbeing program

contributorGabrielle Lis

Need some ammunition to make the case for investment in health and wellbeing? Look no further...

Communicating with "The System"

contributorRosemary McKenzie-Ferguson and Gabrielle Lis

Workers struggle to listen and be heard. How does this affect them?

Resolving long-term claims

contributorGabrielle Lis

We profile a success story in identifying and dismantling non-medical barriers to RTW at Concord...

Disability management pegged: Part 1

contributorGabrielle Lis

You don't have to hang anybody out to dry to get your systems pegged. Instead, make plans and...

Are workplace activities harmful?

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Despite growing perceptions that workplace activities cause and complicate injuries, the...

What is process related injury?

contributorGabrielle Lis

Sometimes compensation systems, not injury, deliver the knock out blow. Don't let that happen to...

Motivational interviewing and RTW Webinar

contributorRoss Iles

Motivated employees have better return to work outcomes.

Supervising wellbeing

contributorGabrielle Lis

How do managers and supervisors impact the mental and emotional wellbeing of their team? Is it...

Setting Up a Workplace Disability Program

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

This article outlines how to set up a program to deal with workplace disability, and the...

Guide to injury reporting systems

contributorRTWMatters team

Improvements to injury reporting systems are one of the most cost effective ways to improve...

Social capital: is it what we're missing?

contributorStefanie Garber

The Return to Work Monitor paints a worrying picture: despite increased funding, resources and...

Getting real with advice for time off work

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Let's put some evidence behind sick certificates

Tests vs. Symptoms - which wins?

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Is it useful to know the pathology of a wrinkle?

We are killing Joe

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Understanding how 'the system' can trip up the people it is supposed to help is the first thread...

Does RTW Coordinator training fit the bill?

contributorGabrielle Lis

Do Australian training courses provide RTW Coordinators with the skills they need?

SPICE up your injury management

contributorDr Mary Wyatt and Tom Barton

The SPICE treatment method is simple and proven since WWI.

Back to the past

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Back pain flare-ups are a normal part of recovery.

A challenge to policy makers

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

How much do we know about how different workers' comp systems influence health outcomes? And...

The opiate trap

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

The use of opiates in chronic pain cases should be carefully monitored. Patients need a high...

WEBINAR - Using surveys to understand your workplace and prevent claims

contributorDr Peter Cotton

Dr Peter Cotton explains how understanding workplace morale and quality of management allows...

Leading the pack or dragging it down?

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

When one part of the system underperforms, the others follow suit.

Recorded Webinar: Communicating with Doctors - GPs and Specialists

contributorDr Phillip Meyerkort

This webinar explores how RTW Coordinators and Claims Managers can communicate effectively with...

Broken trust cripples the compensation system

contributorDr Mary Wyatt and Stefanie Garber

Workers' compensation is plagued by low trust levels - increasing goodwill in the system could...

After the injury, there's more pain to come

contributorStefanie Garber

Injured workers are being further harmed by Australian compensation systems, according to an...

Do me a favour, fix return to work

contributorDr Mary Wyatt and Stefanie Garber

People respond to positive acts with positive deeds of their own. Increased positive experiences...

Using telephonic case management for assessment and triage

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Telephonic methods can be used to assess the clinical and work participation needs of people...

An open letter to the Heads of Australian Workers' Compensation Authorities.

contributorRobert Hughes

How one woman changed Australian culture and why RTW can profit from her example.

Patient advocacy and workers' comp

contributorGabrielle Lis

Workers' comp cases present GPs and other health professionals with opportunities for meaningful...

Webinar Recording: Living in parallel universes.

contributorDr Darren Beales

Physiotherapists and claims manager's beliefs about treatment for injured workers.

The art of influence in return to work

contributorCarolyn Mounce

Are the latest sales and marketing techniques an untapped resource in return to work?

Webinar Recording: The role of the medical certificate in identifying and managing RTW barriers

contributorHarry Papagoras

Physiotherapist Harry Papagoras discusses how medical certificates can be used to identify...

Role Summary: Senior Management

contributorA. Richey

Senior management provides leadership for the team and sets the tone for the rest of the...

On Being a Company Doctor

contributorDr James Crompton

Dr James Crompton discusses the challenges and rewards of working as a company doctor.

Case Study: Exploring other job options

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

This case study explores the importance of providing options for the injured worker's return to...

Case Study: It pays to do the right thing, even when dubious about a claim

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Michael was a 48-year-old machine operator. He had been at the workplace for nine months. During...

Claims Process: the stress of making a claim

contributorA. Richey

When a worker is injured, there might be fears for their job stability, financial burdens, or...

Webinar recording: Independent Medical Examiners: Assessing capacity for work

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Dr Mary Wyatt explores the role of the IME in assessing work capacity for injured or ill employees.

Webinar recording: What works - Lessons from overseas

contributorRobert Aurbach

The most successful workers' compensation system in the world is one you haven't heard of.

Prehabilitation: improving the results of surgery

contributorA. Richey

Prehabilitation is an approach to aid people recover from surgery and increase the likelihood of...

Webinar recording: Physiotherapists and return to work

contributorRoss Iles & Paul Coburn

This panel discussion explores physiotherapy strategic approaches to improve return to work and...

Webinar recording: Employers - The biggest influencers in RTW

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Dr Wyatt discusses the lessons for employers from Return to Work Survey findings

Workers fear lodging claims for psych injury

contributorGabrielle Lis

Lodging a psycological injury claim in Australia is a scary business, and the scarier it is...

"Termis" and tragedy

contributorGabrielle Lis

When injured workers are seen as numbers and claims terminations are rewarded at the expense of...

Not fit for work

contributorGabrielle Lis

Why have “fit notes” failed to transform sickness certification in the UK - and what can the UK...

Australia's most wanted: a mentally healthy workplace

contributorRTWMatters team

Want to secure a mentally healthy workplace but not exactly sure what one looks like? Mental...

The best Vs the rest: mental health at work

contributorRTWMatters team

Fifteen things that the best performing organisations do to promote good mental health at work

Are physios fit for RTW?

contributorPaul Coburn and the RTWMatters team

The answer is a resounding yes from experienced physiotherapist Paul Coburn, who shares his...

Webinar recording: Implementing a 24/7 injury reporting line

contributorMichael Simpson

This webinar discusses the values and outcomes of 24/7 injury reporting lines

Webinar recording: RTWCs & Doctors: Their influence on return to work

contributorTyler Lane

RTW Coordinators and health care providers: Longitudinal studies into their impact on RTW

Psychosocial pitfalls of "ordinary" injuries

contributorGabrielle Lis

We eavesdrop on a conversation (ok, polite but passionate debate) between RTW professionals with...

Common-sense claims processes are on target

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

In some jurisdictions, claim lodgement processes have become more user friendly and proactive...

How has the Clinical Framework helped?

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

A cooperative, supportive approach and clear expectations about treatment has helped allied...

New insurer approach reduces delays in decisions about healthcare

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Delays and disputes are stressful and can have a negative impact on recovery and return to work....

Webinar recording: Work-related psychological health and safety matters.

contributorPeta Miller

Meeting your duties under the work health and safety laws.

Video presentation: Participatory ergonomics

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Combining ergonomics WITH participation opens up a treasure load of possible solutions.

Form-fitting functional abilities to workers

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

A simple but effective South Australian initiative helps physios communicate with GPs about...

Top ten ways to reduce sick leave

contributorGabrielle Lis

Keep workers and reduce sick leave with a dose of sick leave sugar (and a dash of lemon!)

Injustice in return to work: part 1

contributorStefanie Garber

Workers' compensation systems can leave clients feeling betrayed. This sense of unfairness may...

Learned helplessness in RTW

contributorA. Richey

'Learned helplessness' is the idea that some people who experience repeated setbacks will...

Spinal fusion: All pain, no gain?

contributorGabrielle Lis

Australians are turning to spinal fusions to control lower back pain despite a lack of evidence....

Two-thirds of psychological claimants report no workplace contact

contributorGabrielle Lis

New research shows Australian employers delay and even avoid contact with workers who make...

Sunny side up

contributorRTWMatters team

What is optimism? How is it good for health? When is it wise, in professional life, to get your...

Turning a dead-end into a new start

contributorStefanie Garber

An individualised, flexible re-training program aimed at giving people confidence may be key to...

Decision-making justice Part 1.

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

A good decision making process is worth its weight in platinum, making this a key read for...

Decision-making justice: Part two

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Another must read for claims / case managers: how you cannot afford to get it wrong, and how you...

What injured workers want

contributorGabrielle Lis

The bad news: according to workers, positive interactions with insurers are few and far between....

Compensation's negative side effects

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

We don't talk enough about the poor outcomes associated with workers' compensation.

Decision-making justice: Part three

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

What works and what does not work in the decision making process. A must read for claims / case...

Consequences of bad juju between workers and insurers

contributorGabrielle Lis

When interactions with insurers are negative, workers’ compensation claimants describe serious...

Top five insurer fails: Injured workers talk

contributorGabrielle Lis

In workers’ compensation systems across the world, injured workers describe predominantly...

The jewels of case management

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Trust, efficiency, senior management involvement and the all-important connection between the...

Webinar recording: RTW Coordinators - The real 'Gatekeepers' of the RTW process

contributorJoanna Bohatko-Naismith

An academic from the University of NSW shares insights from research that explores the best ways...

Gold medal for relationship management goes to...

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

WorkCover Queensland! But unlike the Olympics, we'll happily hand out more golds to others with...

Putting a price on trust

contributorStefanie Garber

Building social capital costs little but the potential benefits are priceless.

When compensation impedes recovery

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

Studies show that workers are less likely to recover from illness or injury if they enter the...

Why train supervisors and line managers in return to work?

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

A Powerpoint presentation on the whys and wherefores of supervisor training in RTW management.

Injustice in return to work: part 2

contributorStefanie Garber

A sense of unfairness may lead to worse health outcomes for injured workers.

Intro to the Clinical Framework

contributorRTWMatters team

RTW Coordinators, meet the Clinical Framework, a set of principles that ensure allied health...

How do doctors assess a person's ability to work?

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Medical assessments of work capacity are not always defined by what a worker is capable of....

Webinar recording: Best practice independent medical assessments

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

This webinar expands on the previous presentation on independent medical assessment basics.

Examining supervisor competencies and return to work

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Competencies supervisors need to affect positive RTW outcomes for workers suffering...

Self-Management: training the treaters

contributorA. Richey

Self-management is a vital part of recovery from illness, but how can treaters be trained to...

Comparing the data: physical and psychological claims

contributorGabrielle Lis

Dr Wyatt dug into the data on the outcomes and experiences of Australian workers who lodge...