For work related injuries after 1 January 2002, the evaluation of permanent impairment must be carried out in accordance with the NSW workers compensation guidelines for the evaluation of permanent impairment (Guidelines) current at the time of assessment.
The Guidelines state the evaluation of permanent impairment is to be conducted by an assessor who is a medical practitioner recognised as a specialist. The assessor must:
- have qualifications, training and experience relevant to the body system(s) being assessed
- successfully complete requisite training in the use of the Guidelines for each body system they wish to assess
- be listed as a trained assessor of permanent impairment for each relevant body system(s) on the SIRA website.
We list the practice details of permanent impairment assessors on our website. These assessors have met the requirements above, have applied to have their details listed on the SIRA website and may be contacted for the purposes of a worker referral.
To be eligible for listing as a trained assessor of permanent impairment an applicant must:
- be a medical practitioner with current registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
- be recognised as a medical specialist and remunerated at specialist rates under Medicare
- have qualifications, training and experience relevant to each body system for which permanent impairment listing is sought
- have undertaken the NSW workers compensation core training modules in the evaluation of permanent impairment and been assessed as competent in each body system(s) for which listing is sought
- comply with the ‘Service standards for assessors of permanent impairment’ section of this document.
All applications for listing as a trained assessor of permanent impairment must be made to SIRA Workers Compensation Regulation.
All specialist medical practitioners who satisfy the eligibility criteria above can apply.
- Download the SIRA workers compensation trained assessor of permanent impairment application form.
- Complete the form, clearly specifying the body system(s) you are applying for.
- Attach the supporting documentation identified in the eligibility criteria including:
- a copy of current registration as a medical specialist with AHPRA.
- proof of successful completion of the NSW workers compensation training in the evaluation of permanent impairment core module and assessment modules in the body system(s) for which you want to be listed on the SIRA website.
- a signed declaration from the applicant (Part B of the application) agreeing to comply with ‘Service standards for assessors of permanent impairment’ section of this document.
- Email the application form and supporting documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Once your application has been processed and you have been notified your application has been successful you should check the website to ensure your details are correct. If they aren't, email email@example.com with amendments.
- All applications must satisfy the eligibility criteria.
- SIRA will consider each body system a practitioner has nominated and may or may not approve listing for each system.
- When assessing an application, we may make enquiries to verify information provided by the applicant.
- Application assessment is conducted in line with procedural fairness requirements. As such, applicants will be given an opportunity to provide further information should SIRA make an enquiry.
- If SIRA declines an application, we will notify the applicant, provide reasons for the decision and an opportunity for them to provide further information within 28 calendar days.
- After the applicant has provided further information, or the expiration of the period within which they may do so, we will make a final decision on the application.
If an assessor is identified to frequently provide reports that are not in accordance with the Guidelines, or do not comply with service standards, they may be subject to performance monitoring and be asked to show cause as to why their name should not be removed from the list of trained assessors on the website.
In order to be retained on the list of trained assessors of permanent impairment assessors must:
- continue to meet all eligibility criteria
- attend training and successfully complete the competency assessment for any additional training specified by SIRA
- meet the service standards for assessors of permanent impairment specified in the 'Service standards for assessors of permanent impairment' section of this document.
Failure to comply with any of the above may result in a SIRA review and removal from the website listing.
Service standards for assessors of permanent impairment
Listed assessors of permanent impairment must comply with the standards outlined in this section. Failure to do so may result in their removal from the SIRA website listing.
Permanent impairment assessors must:
- provide assessments and reports of permanent impairment in accordance with the NSW workers compensation guidelines for the evaluation of permanent impairment and in the format nominated by SIRA
- comply with all legislation, guidelines and fee schedules in the NSW workers compensation system.
As a permanent impairment assessor, you must:
- comply with all applicable professional standards and codes of conduct including but not limited to the Medical Board of Australia’s Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia referred to in the NSW workers compensation guidelines for the evaluation of permanent impairment
- act without bias and in a way that does not give rise to an apprehension of bias in the performance of your responsibilities
- not accept any inducements outside of fee schedules for services provided
- declare any real, perceived or potential conflict of interest to the referrer at time of referral
- decline any referral that requests a comment on the cause of the injury or the appropriateness of treatment if you are not in current clinical practice
- refrain from comment to the worker on treatment or the quality of services provided by other practitioners
- act in an ethical, professional and considerate manner when examining injured workers
- preserve the privacy and modesty of the worker when undertaking examinations
- comply with all relevant confidentiality and privacy laws.
Permanent impairment assessors must:
- provide and maintain an email address to be used for all written communication from SIRA
- provide us with accurate contact details and notify us in writing within 14 days of any change to name or contact details (as these appear in the SIRA public register)
- possess or have access to sufficient resources and infrastructure to undertake all administrative activities necessary to undertake the role
- respond to complaints with full and accurate details and, when indicated, comply with the remedial action to be taken.
Performance monitoring and quality assurance
SIRA is responsible for monitoring the performance of the trained assessors of permanent impairment listed on the website.
We may monitor assessor performance by analysing reports, data, billing practices and service provision at any time. Feedback on monitoring results can be made available to assessors on a confidential basis.
SIRA may publish de-identified data to assist referrers and assessors in measuring and comparing performance levels.
Any breaches of service standards will be brought to the attention of the assessor concerned, and any subsequent action will depend on assessor responsiveness and the gravity of the breach.
Action may include but is not limited to remedial education/mentoring, suspension from undertaking assessments of permanent impairment, or withdrawal of listing as an assessor of permanent impairment.