New Work Capacity Certificate ensures active recovery for injured workers


Medical practitioners in South Australia are in for a change in July as the state implements new worker’s compensation legislation.

Replacing WorkCoverSA, ReturnToWorkSA will be responsible for the implementation of the new scheme.

According to Dr Gavin Shepherd, ReturnToWorkSA’s Medical Advisor, the new scheme will focus on early intervention, active recovery, and remaining connected to the workplace during recovery.

“For medical practitioners, one of the biggest changes to the scheme is the new Work Capacity Certificate, which replaces the current certificate,” said Dr Shepherd in an article.

“The new Work Capacity Certificate is longer than the old version, but is a useful tool that will assist doctors to promote function by prescribing an active recovery.

“It will have been most doctors’ experience, supported by a worldwide literature, that those patients with a compensable injury fare far worse in terms of recovery than patients with a comparable private injury.

“The certificate can therefore be used to set goals for a recovery time no worse than you would expect for an equivalent private injury.”

With the new Work Capacity Certificate, medical practitioners will be able to easily document and assess their patient’s capacity to work and establish a recommended treatment plan to improve outcomes. The new certificate will allow GPs to:

  • Focus on what the patient can do instead of what they can’t
  • Promote realistic perceptions of injury severity and expectations of recovery timeframes
  • Prescribe what is safe for patients to do at home and at work
  • Increase the patient’s confidence to do activity safely

“A Nurse Practitioner Work Capacity Certificate will also be introduced on 1 July 2015,” says SafeWorkSA in a media release.

“This certificate is intended to prevent workers waiting for lengthy periods in the emergency department to see a medical practitioner for a medical certificate. This certificate is limited to 7 days and is valid to support the lodgment of a claim.”

Doctors are urged to use the new Work Capacity Certificate throughout the 12 month transition period starting 1 July 2015.

The certificate will be available in both hardcopy and electronic formats to allow doctors to complete the form without difficulty and return to ReturnToWorkSA via email, fax, or post.

ReturnToWorkSA will support doctors in implementing the new Work Capacity Certificate through guidance materials and CPD point accredited education, which consists of free online learning modules.

Further information can be obtained by contacting ReturnToWorkSA on 13 18 55.

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