The health benefits of work

Research indicates that work is good for our health and wellbeing, and that a safe, sustainable and timely return to suitable work actively aids the recovery of injured workers. Here’s what you need to know as a GP supporting a patient on their recovery and return-to-work journey.

Taking early action delivers positive outcomes for your patient

If you’re treating a patient who has been injured at work, the more you can do to help your patient return to work – sooner, rather than later – the better the outcomes. Early intervention and talking to your patient about the health benefits of work from the outset are vital.

How to help your patient on their return-to-work journey

There are lots of things you can do – as a GP – to support your patient on their recovery and return-to-work journey. Most importantly, you need to:

The sooner you intervene and the sooner your patient returns to work, the better it is for your patient’s health, wellbeing and recovery. Find out more about the importance of early intervention.

How can you help your patient understand the important role work plays in their recovery from injury? What’s the best way to help your patient realise the health benefits of work? Find out more about the importance of your role as a GP.

The sooner you talk about returning to work, the sooner you can put a suitable recovery and return to work program together. And the sooner you do that, the better it is for your patient’s overall recovery and wellbeing. Take a look at the downloadable resources we’ve brought together to help you talk to your patient about the health and recovery benefits of returning to work.

Research supports the idea that a safe, sustainable and timely return to work aids recovery from injury. Read the Australian Consensus Statement on the Health Benefits of Work and find out more about the research and evidence.

An approved workplace rehabilitation provider (WRP) can assist the employer and injured worker if there are problems with the return to work process. WRPs are commonly health professionals such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists or psychologists who have expertise in addressing the physical, psychological and/or workplace barriers that may prevent an injured worker returning to work.

WRPs are approved by WorkCover WA and have the appropriate qualifications, experience and expertise to provide relevant services based on the assessed need of the worker and the workplace.

See the Register of approved workplace rehabilitation providers.

In Western Australia, approved workplace rehabilitation providers are expected to deliver high quality services to support injured workers in a successful return to work and are required to operate according to the Workplace Rehabilitation Providers Principles and Standards of Practice (Principles and Standards) (PDF – 2.21kb).

WorkCover WA is a signatory to the Heads of Workers’ Compensation Authorities’ Principles of Practice for Workplace Rehabilitation Providers (Principles). Any organisation seeking to become a workplace rehabilitation provider will need to demonstrate they conform to the requirements of the Principles.

Note: “Workplace Rehabilitation” means “Vocational Rehabilitation” as stated in the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.

To support the release of the Principles and Standards, a video conversation series has been produced to help Workplace Rehabilitation Providers understand and apply the service expectations. The conversation series can be viewed on the WorkCover WA YouTube channel.