Minister for Employment Senator Eric Abetz announced on Wednesday a new ‘fit note’ to assist sick and injured workers get back to work has been developed for use by all General Practitioners in the ACT and surrounding region before a potential national expansion.
The certificate of capacity is designed to help over 400 GPs focus on patients’ capacity to work, instead of their incapacity.
This is part of Comcare’s Health Benefits of Work Programme which supports that a timely, supported return to work for people with injury and illness reduces disability.
“There is no doubt that work is good for an individual’s mental, physical and social health as well as that of their family and the community,” said Senator Abetz.
“The new fit note will help employers understand what they need to do to support a person to return to work and good health as quickly as possible.”
The Certificate of Capacity will focus on capacity for work and encourages doctors to consider options including a graduated return to work, modified duties and reduced hours.
It will also prevent confusion and duplication by standardising the information needed by multiple workers’ compensation and accident injury schemes operating in the ACT.
The certificate is supported by all workers’ compensation and motor accident personal injury insurers in the territory. These include Comcare, Compulsory Third Party and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
“GPs can provide advice on how someone can stay at work when their health circumstances change, rather than certify extended work absences that can lead to long-term disability,” said Senator Abetz.
“The certificate of capacity is an important step in the right direction. It needs to be matched by reasonable adjustments by employers to find suitable work and support for early return to work.”
Implementation of the certificate in the ACT will be evaluated by Comcare before working towards a national implementation in the Comcare workers’ compensation scheme.
More information about the Health Benefits of Work programme is available on the Comcare site.