Sector Spotlight

ACC working to achieve great outcomes with vocational rehabilitation

ACC’s Vocational Rehabilitation Service (VRS) is designed to engage with clients, their employers and their GPs to help achieve early returns to work and better work outcomes for people who are receiving weekly compensation. It's all about high-quality, sustainable return-to-work outcomes for our clients.

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Nearly two years ago ACC worked with the sector to deliver the model for vocational rehab (VRS) we have today, but our commitment to achieving great outcomes for patients hasn’t stopped there. 

Since we launched the new vocational rehab services we’ve had a good look at how it’s been working and whether we’re on track with the key goals of improving return-to-work outcomes and the quality of rehabilitation for our clients.

While we found that we are getting earlier and better return-to-work outcomes for clients, the review also highlighted some areas where ACC could be doing even better.

We’re focusing on the things we can do better, including working on ensuring that there is some real consistency in ACC staff and provider knowledge and understanding of VRS, and building stronger relationships between our staff and suppliers to help us turn good outcomes into great ones for our clients.

What is VRS?

If a client can get weekly compensation because they can’t do their usual job, ACC can help them with vocational rehabilitation to make sure they get the best possible outcome. Usually the outcome is for the client to return to their previous employment or the closest possible equivalent. If this isn’t possible, we then help them to prepare for other employment that matches their experience and training.

ACC has a flexible range of services to encourage people to stay at work, support people who’ve lost their job and need to help to return to the workforce, and help people find another job.

Vocational rehabilitation has an important role to play in helping people back to work.

Research tells us that the chances of someone returning to work decreases dramatically the longer they are away from work, from 70% for someone who’s been off work for 20 days to 50% for someone off work for 45 days and just 35% if the absence reaches 70 days.*

Putting vocational rehabilitation in place early gives clients the best chance of returning to work after injury. It’s now well recognised that waiting for a client to be 100% fit before contemplating a return to work can negatively affect their recovery**, and ACC’s VRS promotes early returns to work to get better outcomes.


* Johnson D, Fry T. Factors Affecting Return to Work after Injury: A study for the Victorian WorkCover Authority Melbourne. Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2002.

** Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Australian and New Zealand Consensus Statement on the Health Benefits of Work; Position Statement: Realising the Health Benefits of Work, 2011.

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December 2013 Newsletter

Published 09/12/2013

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