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Labour reduces worker compensation backlog

Torika Tokalau
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE Ministry of Labour confirms it has reduced the backlog of worker compensation cases from about 2000 in 2009 to about 70 so far.

The ministry's medical assessor, Dr Rauni Tikoinayau, said this was a result of the upskilling of doctors in permanent impairment assessments.

The training, conducted by one of Australia's top experts in the field, Dr Dwight Dowda, began in 2010.

"Before this training, there had been a disparity in how doctors did assessments," Dr Tikoinayau said.

"Doctors, because they are not trained on how to do assessments, one of the reasons we found was they were frightened to stand up in court to justify why they are giving percentages.

"Only a small number of doctors were doing assessments."

Dr Tikoinayau said the upskilling of doctors was the only way to streamline the process for people to make quicker claims for compensation.

"From 2009, there were more than 2000 backlog of cases. Up until now, there are only about 70 cases from the backlog of cases. But we also have the new cases which come in for assessment every year which is about 1000.

"But we have reduced the number of backlog of cases."

Yesterday, about 30 doctors attended the first of the two phases of training in the evaluation of permanent impairment in Suva.

"There are 133 doctors right now in Fiji who have already completed some formal training in permanent assessment."

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