About The Event

Symposium opened by Robert Hughes, Resworks. Approximately 55 participants from various disciplines including employer groups, treating practitioners, policy makers, researchers, employees, rehabilitation providers and insurers were welcomed.

Dr Mary Wyatt, Chairman Resworks & treating practitioner:

… outlined the background to the symposium, seeking to address the need for a forum to look at potential changes to the existing system through a research agenda: where research fits in and what type of research would be effective and useful.

What do people believe are the key research issues to go on with?”

Alan Clayton, Keynote Speaker & researcher:

… provided an outline around the question, “what happens when research is done and how can the knowledge gained through research be transferred into a practical sense?” Overseas initiatives, particularly in Germany, are being worked on through various groups researching specific areas. Victoria, and Australia overall, has very limited work in action. Small efforts are noted through road safety research, coronial initiatives and a range of specialist expertise, although fragmented, include work within the medical and rehabilitation fields, employers and the union movement. However there is no dedicated occupational disability research centre and the need is there for a co-operative knowledge broker (an independent facilitator) to “get ideas into good currency”.

Four independent speakers from differing backgrounds presented a brief outline of their experience within the “system”.

Robynne Dashwood (Department of Human Services) provided an outline of her personal experience as an injured employee “going thru the system”. Main issues to be addressed from the employees view point should include the impact of employer’s support, likelihood of re-employment, issuing of certificates of incapacity by medical practitioners.

Tracey Browne (AIG) spoke as a representative of an employer group. Issues of importance included perceptions by major parties involved, the importance for the employer to be included as a part of the process and how assistance is needed to help employers in this role, including the skills and knowledge with RTW and how to project the knowledge of the importance for employees to return to work.

Paul Pers (SANO Consulting), treater and researcher, highlighted a need to achieve improvements in healthcare, identify and assist employees and workplaces at risk, and what are the key factors to achieve success within the system. A Code of Practice is required and may well be a potential outcome to be achieved from a forum such as this.

Eva Schonstein (University of Sydney), researcher, put the question: “how do we evaluate the research available”

Prior to the sessions on the day, all participants provided input through a survey document, with further additions and modifications to the initial data being provided during the morning session. The information was then prioritised by participants to become the basis of the final Research Agenda document.

Categorising of the Table of Contents draft was undertaken by participants and this work, together with the modifications to the survey data, will now be combined to create a Research Document which will be forwarded to all attendees for their final comment prior to public release.

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