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New return-to-work services released

ACC’s new return-to-work services came into effect on ​1 October.

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New return-to-work services give GPs the tools they need to help their patients safely back into work and daily life.

The health benefits of work have been universally acknowledged, but are not yet being consistently applied in practice. We want to help make it easier for GPs to ‘do the right thing’.

ACC’s new approach tackles workplace recovery and rehabilitation from several perspectives, combining to create a broad range of support for GPs. Its focus is on providing GPs with fast and effective access to advice on return-to-work services, and on training GPs in an approach to work capacity certification that enables patients to recover from injury at work.

Improved access to return-to-work services

Access to return-to-work services has been made easier by changes we’ve made to the eACC18 medical certificate. GPs can now directly request that case coordinators contact them where the GP sees an opportunity for a potential return-to-work by clicking a box on the e-form. They can also use a free calling option to discuss patients’ return-to-work needs with senior ACC staff. ACC staff will aspire to respond to calls for assistance within two working days.

Additional certification support services

ACC’s Clinical Review of Fitness for Work service enables GPs to seek a clinical review of their patients to achieve progress towards a successful return-to-work. This will benefit GPs who need help developing effective return-to-work plans. Over time, the service will mentor GPs and help raise the bar on the quality of certification.

Our General Practice Support Services take a different approach. Here we work with primary health organisations which will train their enrolled GPs in certification and monitor their progress against national certification data trends.

So, over time, most GPs will receive the training they need on certification, and many others will benefit from the up-close support provided by participation in clinical reviews.

Desired outcomes

The outcomes we seek are fewer Fully Unfit for Work certificates and more Fit for Selected Work certificates, and the universal use of the eACC18.

Both the Clinical Review of Fitness for Work and General Practice Support Services reflect our objective of raising medical awareness of the clinical importance and relevance of an accurate determination of patient fitness for work. As the cornerstone of a successful, early and safe return to work, this will benefit the patients, who will be able to recover at work and take advantage of ACC’s vocational rehabilitation.

The services are available in northern North Island locations and Hawke’s Bay, and will be rolled out nationwide early next year. Both of these services were developed in association with stakeholders in the primary care sector, in particular GPs and PHOs.

For more information on certification, see our website.

Published 01/10/2012

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