Thank you to the 539 members who completed our survey on amendments to the Workers Compensation Act.
Under section 19B of the Workers Compensation Act 1987, doctors have been presumed to have been infected while on duty when making a workers’ compensation claim for COVID-19. The new Bill will repeal Section 19B and doctors will have to prove they caught COVID in the workplace.
The survey revealed that 95% of doctors are against the proposed amendment.
Whilst ASMOF will be writing a submission on behalf of our members we also encourage you to urgently complete the short questionnaire being run by the NSW Parliament so your voice can be heard directly.
Here is a small sample of some of your comments on the proposed amendment:
- ‘It is absolutely ridiculous to think that doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are asked to work on the forefront of the pandemic and are the most exposed to the virus but then actually contracting the virus means it is more likely we contracted it outside of work. The logic does not add up.’
- ‘… This would be un unreasonable burden given numbers of potential exposures in hospitals with COVID 19 patients. ..The burden of proof should therefore fall on proving it was not contracted within a work environment if such claims are to be declined. Also changing this will adversely impact on staff morale and retention.’
- ‘There is a higher occupational exposure risk (especially in areas such as ICU, Emergency) that makes transmission more likely than the general population. This is even more likely with a lower community transmission rate as the comparison risk ratio is greater for occupational exposure. On the balance of probabilities, worker's compensation should protect healthcare workers for this exposure risk. Proving this is a work exposure is essentially impossible and so this is a removal of protection by stealth. There should potentially be a right to decline working with COVID patients if this protection is lost.'
- ‘It is very difficult to prove where an infection was caught. Front line health staff such as doctors, nurses, allied health and receptionists are clearly at higher risk. Twisted ankles are covered, why not a potentially serious infection?’