Managing return to work

What to expect from your health practitioner

Your treating health practitioner plays a crucial role in managing your injury and illness and helping you return to work

You have the right to choose your treating health practitioner.

Your treating health practitioner should be able to:

  • give you advice about when it is likely that you will recover
  • provide or refer you to treatment that leads to measurable improvement in work performance or increases your ability to return to work
  • provide advice on all aspects of your situation (biological, psychological and social), e.g. as well as providing treatment for a mental health problem, they
  • should also assess other factors that might make return to work difficult, such as unhelpful beliefs, issues with your work situation and other barriers to return to work
  • collaborate with you to set specific, measurable and relevant goals for recovery,
  • including work-related goals
  • involve you in decisions about treatment
  • work with you to assess progress towards goals and modify treatment as necessary (with your permission) give your employer information relevant to your return to work.
  • aim to identify and manage risk factors that might prevent successful return to work as early as possible
  • provide advice on techniques to manage your health problem at work, at home and in the community
  • provide advice on how to manage the possibility of relapse
  • communicate with family and friends, employers and other health professionals (with your permission) about their role in helping you to manage relapse

Getting the most out of your consultations with your doctor or healthcare provider is important to getting better and returning to work. Help them by giving them as much information as you can about your job, focusing on what you can do as well as what you can’

Useful Links – Click the logo to visit the website

"In so many cases, managers or colleagues, they might think that there's a problem but they avoid it, they don't ask early enough. So by the time they do have the conversation, it's really difficult - people are on the back foot and it can get hostile. Managers need to be more proactive and have these conversations earlier. You can keep it low key, just check in with the person, ask them if they are getting the support they need."
HR Manager
*not her real name
"If someone broke their arm we wouldn't be worrying about whether or not we were liable, we'd just send them to the doctor. It should be the same for mental health problems."
OHS Manager
* not his real name
"Some employers think that if they accept that there is a problem, then that means they are accepting liability. Sometimes that stops them helping get employees into treatment. Actually they would be better off getting the person into treatment early - that's likely to reduce the risk of a stress claim. I recommend that where they can, employers offer to pay for two sessions of treatment without considering issues of liability."
Occupational Physician
*not her real name