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dc.contributor.authorCollie, A.
dc.contributor.authorRuseckaite, R.
dc.contributor.authorBrijnath, Bianca
dc.contributor.authorKosny, A.
dc.contributor.authorMazza, D.
dc.identifier.citationCollie, A. and Ruseckaite, R. and Brijnath, B. and Kosny, A. and Mazza, D. 2013. Sickness certification of workers compensation claimants by general practitioners in Victoria, 2003-2010. Medical Journal of Australia. 199 (7): pp. 480-483. © Copyright 2012. The Medical Journal of Australia - reproduced with permission.

Objective: To examine patterns of the sickness certification of workers compensation claimants by general practitioners in Victoria, Australia, by nature of injury or illness. Design, setting and patients: Retrospective analysis of Victorian workers compensation data for all injured and ill workers with an accepted workers compensation claim between 2003 and 2010. Main outcome measures: Type (unfit for work, alternative duties, or fit for work) and duration of initial medical certificates relating to workers compensation claims that were issued by GPs, in six categories of injury and illness. Results: Of 124 424 initial medical certificates issued by GPs, 74.1% recommended that workers were unfit for work and 22.8% recommended alternative duties. Unfit-for-work certificates were issued to 94.1% of workers with mental health conditions, 81.3% of those with fractures, 79.1% of those with other traumatic injuries, 77.6% of those with back pain and strains, 68.0% of those with musculoskeletal conditions and 53.0% of those with other diseases. Alternative-duties certificates were significantly longer in duration than unfit-for-work certificates in all injury and illness categories (P<0.001) but certificates for workers with musculoskeletal injuries and diseases, back pain and strains and other traumatic injuries were of lesser duration than those for workers with fractures, mental health conditions and other diseases. Conclusion: The high proportion of medical certificates recommending complete absence from work presents major challenges in terms of return to work, labour force productivity, the viability of the compensation system, and long-term social and economic development. There is substantial variation in the type and duration of medical certificates issued by GPs. People with mental health conditions are unlikely to receive a certificate recommending alternative duties. Further research is required to understand GP certification behaviour.

dc.publisherAustralasian Medical Publishing
dc.titleSickness certification of workers compensation claimants by general practitioners in Victoria, 2003-2010
dc.typeJournal Article
dcterms.source.titleMedical Journal of Australia
curtin.departmentSchool of Occupational Therapy and Social Work
curtin.accessStatusOpen access

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