Learn about the workcover independent medical examination
1.The workcover independent medical examination (IME / ME)
The WorkCover law allows WorkCover insurers to request that you be examined by a doctor of their choice, mainly to “assess” your condition. These examinations are called Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) undertaken by an independent doctor / medical examiner (IME).
The insurance company is allowed to send you to an IME “at reasonable intervals” – a vague term indeed. You are required to attend such a (reasonable) requested examination, for failing to do so may see you lose all your WorkCover benefits.
There are several reasons why an independent medical examination is requested. These include: the WorkCover insurer (eg your case manager) believes the injured worker is overtreating, that the injured worker may not really be hurt, or is not as injured as they say they are. Read between the lines.
Unfortunately it is well known that there is generally speaking nothing “independent” about those examinations, as the doctor is chosen by the insurance company, and actually works for them, and in doing so, are paid a lucrative fee as well.
In general, the WorkCover insurer will request an IME in the hope that the IM doctor will come back with a diagnosis much more in line with what the insurer wants to be said. And many doctors do. What that usually boils down to is doctors performing short, shoddy examinations, and then writing up a report that reads, hmmm… It is no wonder that it is well known that insurance companies use the same selected IME doctors over and over again, and go as far as flying them out interstate!
The IME doctor has no normal doctor-patient relationship with you, and will only give his/her “opinion” to the insurance company. Most of the time this opinion is not in favour of you!
2. What you really need to know about workcover independent medical examinations
Below is a list of things you really need to know about attending an IME:
- Because there is no normal doctor-patient relationship with an IME doctor, there is no confidentiality. Therefore everything you say, or fail to say during the examination will be written in your report
- The WorkCover insurance company (the Case Manager) will have sent a cover letter to the IME doctor and a list of questions. They should also have sent relevant information about your injury, such as x-ray results, MRI results, surgical reports etc. The problem is that they don’t! They tend to send misleading cover letters insinuating things such as “..it has been alleged that there may be a psychological overlay…”. And they tend to provide little or irrelevant or outdated information about your injury/illness. We recommend you take with you all relevant images (CT, MRI etc), surgical reports, treating doctor reports etc. to ensure the IME has all the relevant information about your injury.
- Never allow an IME doctor to perform any invasive test on you, such as take an x-ray, do an EMG test, give you an injection etc.
- Never ever exaggerate or lie during the examination, the IME doctor (and his/her staff) are trained your every move. They will watch you walk out of your car, how you move, bend down, pick up something from the floor, how you tie your shoelaces and how you move to get undressed (and more). Just be honest and very specific about your pain and limitations. If, for example, you cannot sit for longer than 10 minutes because of a back injury, then please don’t sit for more than 10 minutes and stand up! The IME doctor will watch you like a hawk and make note of any “inconsistency” and “discrepancy” about your complaints, your medical records and, most importantly, how you move and behave during the exam. For example, if you tell the IME you cannot bend, but at the end of the examination your tie your shoelaces by bending over, you’re “caught”! It has been alleged that some IMEs will go as far as to trip you, by for example dropping something from their desk (see if you pick it up), and it has been reported that some IMEs will even surprise you to see whether you really do suffer from PTSD/anxiety (startle reflex). The list of tricks (and tips) is endless, and we highly recommend you read as many articles about IMEs as possible on our sites, including our archived site. (Use the search box and type in keywords such as “IME”, “independent medical examination“, etc.)
- Make sure you don’t miss your IME appointment and arrive on time. As stated previously refusing to attend an IME may result in the termination of your WorkCover benefits or WorkCover claim.
- Try to take a support person with you during the examination, such as a friend, partner, spouse who can act as witness and take notes of what actually happened during your examination (length of time of the examination, what movements and tests were performed, how you reacted, what you said etc.). Some IMEs do not allow you to have a support person present, in particular, psychiatric IME doctors. Still, you should insist. If you are unable to have a support person during the examination, make sure you record everything that happened as soon as you leave the exam room.
- You can also request a chaperone be present during the examination. For example, a female staff member if the IME is male – again insist on it.
- Generally speaking, the independent medical examination is often a short affair and can last anywhere from 10 minutes to 40 minutes, so it is really important that you are prepared to provide your whole work-injury story, including all your complaints as comprehensively and as fast as possible. This can be done by preparing for the examination the day before and going over your records (eg. date of injury, how the injury happened, what treatment you have had, your chief complaints etc.)
- As we mentioned previously, be aware that a private investigator may be following you on the day of your IME examination. (Often, the day before, during and the day after an IME examination). It is cheaper and easier for the WorkCover insurer to have surveillance undertaken of you when they know where you will be and at what time! Obviously, a private investigator will try very hard to “catch you” doing something that is “inconsistent” with what you told the IME, or did during the examination. For example, if you normally use a walking stick, then be sure to use it, and definitely do not walk out without using it in the parking lot!
- It is well known that many independent doctors are “not friendly” towards injured workers. Most are unsympathetic and appear disinterested, and some have been reported as being outright rude. Regardless of any unfriendliness, bluntness, rudeness etc., never ever get angry or argue or become obstructive with the IME doctor. It is really harder for them to write unfavourable things about you in their report if you stay courteous, friendly and forthright during the examination.
Please note that not all IME doctors are biased, bad or unfriendly – thankfully we still have some really outstanding independent medical examiners!
3. How to prepare for a workcover independent medical examination
Tips to help you prepare for an independent medical examination (IME)We have written countless articles about IMEs, including valuable tips to help prepare yourself for such a physical or psychiatric examination, this page basically summarises the key points on what you can do to prepare yourself for an IME exam.
If you are injured or made ill at work and make a workcover claim, the workcover insurance company has the right to have you examined by a doctor of its choice. This is called an “independent” medical examination. We don’t like to use the word “independent” when referring to these exams, even though they are routinely referred to as IME’s.
Whatever it’s called, the doctor who performs the exam will testify about your injuries for the workcover insurance company. Make no mistake- the insurance company pays the doctor’s fee. The doctor is examining you not for the purpose of treatment, nor to help you find relief from your injuries. Rather, it is the doctor’s job to obtain information that will either allow the workcover insurance company to terminate its obligation to pay your medical bills or to cast doubt on your claim of injury should your case go to court.
It has been alleged that some of these examinations are – unfortunately – not always independent. The insurance companies carefully and deliberately pick what doctors they want to perform specific evaluations. It has been alleged that some of these doctors solicit business from the insurance companies by offering to do such medical evaluations for them knowing that the insurance company will not refer patients to the doctor again unless the reports are favourable to the insurance company.
- Everything you do in the IME doctor’s office will be observed and recorded by the doctor and his staff.
The IME doctor often incorporates simple activities, such as sitting on the examining table or taking your shirt off, as part of their mobility testing. So, while you might think the IME doctor never saw you move, s/he did observe you take off your jacket and pull your shirt over your head, demonstrating certain mobility techniques. All of those observations are part of the exam, although not as obvious to you as other parts of the physical exam itself. Be particularly aware of surveillance persons in the waiting room. One particular insurance company, in a letter, addressed to the IME preceding the exam, asked the doctor to “watch” you in the waiting room and document things such as opening up doors, sitting waiting for the evaluation, walking within the facility, etc. Sometimes the IME may even drop something on purpose to see if you bend to pick it up. Remain observant and watchful of everything you do when entering the offices of an IME physician. Stay seated and don’t walk around.
- Be On-Time
Keep your appointment. Your failure to attend the exam may result in the suspension or termination of your weekly payments (or claim).
- Be Honest
Honesty is the best policy. The best way to “connect” with the IME doctor is to be polite, cooperative, and above all, truthful. If you lie or fake an injury during the exam, the doctor will recognise your deceit and mention it prominently in the report. Try to appear open and forthright by providing helpful and straightforward answers. Also, attempt to make eye contact whenever possible. Although you need to pay attention to the IME doctor’s questions so you can answer them carefully, don’t appear nervous. After all, you know the answers to the questions, so try to stay relaxed.
- Prepare For The IME Exam:
Get organised! One way to strengthen your case and be more relaxed during the exam is to gather your thoughts so you can present your medical history in a logical and concise, but complete manner. Here are some topics you’ll cover:
- Your medical history, including prior injuries
- How the accident occurred
- What areas of your body were injured
- Your primary symptoms
- When your injuries cause you pain
- Movements or activities that aggravate your injuries and cause pain or discomfort
- Treatment or medication that makes your injuries feel better; and
Activities that have been affected or limited.
Review the summary before your exam, but we recommend you do not bring the summary with you, because some IMEs may interpret that ‘if you need a written summary’ you are fabricating your ‘story'(!). Instead, you can (and we advise) you bring along relevant medical reports (such as operation reports, reports from your treating doctors prepared for example for conciliation, outlining your medical history related to your injury; medical imaging reports as well as original imaging -x-rays, MRIs, CT’s etc).
- What the IME Doctor Looks For:
Once you are called in for examination the IME doctor will typically conduct a patient interview to learn the history of the accident/incident and medical condition, and then conduct a (superficial) medical examination. At some point in time, the IME doctor is also likely to consult other medical records (selectively) provided before your arrival in relation to your case. During this process, the IME doctor looks for a variety of factors about you, the injury victim, including:
- General Appearance – The doctor will observe you not only during the examination, but while you walk in the examination room, how you stand, whether you have any difficulty climbing onto the examination table, whether you show any signs of distress while sitting on the examination table, how you dress and undress yourself, your weight and personal hygiene, and anything else that the IME doctor believes relevant to your injury or condition.
- Signs of Deception – The IME doctor will typically be on high alert for any sign of deception or exaggeration, and can be expected to report any impression that you intentionally or unintentionally exaggerate any symptoms.
- Objective Manifestations of Injury – The IME doctor will (should) typically review any medical imaging studies, such as x-rays, MRI reports, CT scans, and EMG nerve conduction studies, to try to find objective manifestations of injury – that is, objectively measurable damage or injury to your body. The IME doctor will also evaluate whether your subjective symptoms of pain and discomfort are consistent with the objectively verifiable manifestations of the injury.
- Subjective Manifestations of Injury – The doctor will often perform tests which require you to provide subjective indications of pain, discomfort, sensitivity or insensitivity. For example, a doctor examining for a lower back condition may have the patient perform a variety of movements which stretch or turn the back, and note the point at which the patient starts to report pain and the point where movement becomes limited by pain. The doctor may test the subjective manifestations in several ways, or at more than one point during the examination, to see if any claimed pain level or point of disability remains consistent.
- Other Contributing Factors – The IME doctor can be expected to inquire about any other ailments or injuries, including any which have occurred prior to or since the accident/incident, which may have somehow contributed to the injury, or aggravated the injury or impaired recovery since the time of the accident. The doctor will also likely address any lifestyle factors discovered within this process, such as drinking, smoking, overeating, and recreational drug use, which may somehow contribute to the injury.
- Meeting The Doctor:
The IME doctor will ask questions to formulate opinions about your injuries. Be careful that you understand each question before you answer it. For example, if the doctor asks, “How do you feel now?” you should find out if he wants to know how you feel that minute or at this point after the accident. You may feel pretty well at that particular moment but may have had pain associated with your injury earlier in the day, so it’s important to be specific and accurate in your answers. Take time to answer all questions carefully, think before you open your mouth to ensure you do not fall into an IME doctor trap!. If a question is unclear or confusing, don’t be afraid to ask the doctor to explain or rephrase the question before you answer. If you make a mistake, correct it immediately. Avoid unnecessary elaboration. Remember that the doctor is hired by the workcover insurance company to help its case. So, while you should always answer a question politely, honestly, and completely, don’t ramble on or elaborate unnecessarily.
4. What you should do at a workcover independent medical examination
- Be honest and cooperative with the doctor.
- Be pleasant. At the same time, you should not behave in such a fashion that the doctor can say you were laughing during the examination.
- Be concerned. Be serious. Be polite. Give the doctor accurate, but brief, history on how your accident or injury occurred.
- Give the doctor an accurate history of your job details and what you do in terms of lifting, bending, stooping, carrying, and walking.
- If the IME doctor asks you about any previous injuries or illnesses you had before the present one, be honest and tell him the nature of any injuries you had, and whether you had surgery etc but only those that have some influence or somewhat connected to your current workcover condition. (For example, if you suffer from a work-related shoulder injury and had shoulder surgery 15 years ago, this should be openly shared). On the other hand, do not volunteer information. For example in a psychiatric IME examination, do not mention irrelevant childhood traumas, unrelated psychological issues such as postnatal depression etc. IMEs will literally pounce on any psych issue you may have had, no matter how irrelevant, to blame your current condition on it (as in pre-existing condition) to deny your workcover claim.
- If the IME doctor asks if you have had any previous injury claims, you should say to him, “I’ve had previous injuries” (if that is true) but our advice is to only mention those that are relevant to your current work injury. The IME should not be interested in your head bump when you fell when you were 2 years old!
- If you are totally disabled, explain to the doctor that if there was any way you could be back at work, you would be there.
- Keep copies of any document you fill out or sign at the IME’s office if/where applicable. Don’t assume the IME will keep your questionnaire. Many don’t, and that may be the only proof you have that you told the IME doctor about some part of your medical history or injury. So ask for keep your own copy.
- This independent medical exam Doctor is going to ask you many questions in great detail. Keep in mind to answer his or her questions as simply as possible. Yes or no answers are the best you can give. Try not to elaborate on any subject. Never guess! If you are unsure or do not know the answer to a question, simply state “I do not know”. If the IME is asking questions about your doctor, or your doctor’s opinion, tell the IME doctor to look in the file that was provided to him or her, all that information should be in it. It is also ok, if you are uncomfortable, to tell the IME doctor that all of your injury information is also in the file (or bring your own file). You can keep repeating this as much as needed. Independent medical examination doctors will try to get you to sing like a canary in hopes to get you to say something different. You can also leave your file (copy) on the IME doctor’s desk when you leave.
- Anytime this IME touches you or makes you do something that hurts tell him or her loudly! If you do not make it known that what is happening is causing you pain, the doctor will write in his or her report that the injured worker did not have any pain. Make your pain known!
- Be aware that the doctor is sometimes performing the same test on you in more than one fashion and in more than one way. For example, the doctor may test your legs when you are sitting up and when you are lying down. This is the same test. Therefore, if you complain of pain inconsistently, the IME doctor is going to make note of it. Let the truth come out and you may obtain a more favourable report from the IME doctor.
- If you routinely wear them, please wear hand/arm braces and use any rehabilitative assistant devices like canes, walkers etc. at least two days before the exam, the day of, and two days after the exam. Be watchful and mindful you are likely to be under surveillance for these days as well. Look for strangers in your neighbourhood or unfamiliar cars following you during that time period. If you are on good terms with your neighbours, ask them to alert you if they are contacted by anyone out of the ordinary. Insurance companies frequently use a ruse whereby they call you on the telephone and tell you they want to deliver some sort of mail or package. Be careful of strange phone calls.
- During the course of your exam, without the IME doctor knowing it, keep track of the time the doctor spends with you and what is being done during each time period. For example:
2:00 p.m. Arrive at the doctor’s office.
2:15 p.m. Appointment time
2:30 p.m. Go to examining room
2:40 p.m. Doctor arrives in examining room.
3:00 p.m. Interview ends, told to undress, doctor leaves
3:10 p.m. Doctor returns and begins exam
3:15 p.m. Examination over
3:20 p.m. Leave clinic
5. What you should NOT do during a workcover independent medical exam
- Do not try to out-smart the doctor. They didn’t go through all those years of medical school and residency to be fooled by someone who says ouch every time they move. Those patients get less sympathy and even less credibility for their complaints.
- Do not volunteer any information not requested.
- Do not discuss who is at fault in your case.
- Do not discuss settlement of your case.
- Do not allow the doctor to take X-rays or conduct other diagnostic tests.
- Do not lie. That can undermine your whole case.
- Do not talk about your accident, injuries, insurance company or case in elevators, common areas or doctor’s waiting room.
- Do not wear dangling jewellery or earrings.
- Do not come to the IME doctor with hands that look they are dirty from working on a car or changing the oil.
- Do not come to the IME doctor with elaborately painted fingernails (especially if you are claiming carpal tunnel or any other type of chronic pain syndrome).
- Do not jump on and off of the examination table
- Do not come in tight jeans or boots. Men, don’t come unshaven (unless you normally don’t shave, lest you be accused of faking your appearance!). Ladies, don’t come with make-up on or wearing high heels.
- Do not leave the IME doctor’s office in a running trot or quick walk and jump into your car, because the IME doctor is probably watching you from his or her window.
- Do not use medical jargon or fancy terminology when discussing your case or describing your symptoms. You are not a doctor. Use regular, everyday words to describe your symptoms.
- Do not discuss money or any plans of retirement with the IME.
- Do not discuss your marital situation. Your marital situation is not relevant to the present examination.
- Do not exaggerate your problems.
- No matter how lightly or heavily the IME doctor may touch you, be natural.
- Never ever ask the doctor for medication or pain pills.
- Do not talk to the IME doctor about the insurance carrier, lawyers or the case manager(s).
- If you have a bad back, don’t bend down and untie your shoes. Wear slip-on shoes and kick them off/slide them on.
- Do not discuss with the IME doctor the amount of your claim or the amount of wages you used to make. Politely decline to do so by saying that the insurance company has that information.
- Do not discuss with the IME doctor whether you have any hearings coming up on your case.
- Do not discuss what you deserve for a settlement or your plans for spending the money you may get.
6. Do not expect a fair workcover IME report
While a few IME doctors are highly professional and seek to actually provide an objective evaluation, it has been alleged that some know that they are being paid by the insurance company. If the IME doctor prepares a report you believe to be unfair, let your lawyer worry about it. However, you should make corrections to any mistakes and incorrect statements to your workcover case manager in writing. You need to be principally concerned with what your treating health care providers tell you about your condition.
7. What to do after the workcover independent medical examination
Once the exam is over and you have left the IME doctor’s office, prepare a written summary containing the following information in as much detail as possible:
- What the IME doctor said to you
- What you answered
- What, if anything, was dictated into a tape recorder by the doctor during the exam
- What tests or procedures the doctor performed
- How much time the IME doctor spent with you
- What was done during each time period; and
- Any inappropriate or unusual questions or comments made by the IME doctor.
The IME doctor will prepare a report for the insurance company describing his examination of you, along with his findings and opinions. (Usually, it takes 2 weeks and you can request a copy of the report under the FOI).
Try to remember what goes on during the exam in as much detail as possible, but we recommend not to take notes in front of the IME doctor or to bring a tape recorder into the exam — that could make it appear that you are more interested in getting money for your injuries than in improving your health. Many will refuse it anyway. (Also check if you are allowed to record the exam in your state → see Privacy Laws) .
It is very important to note the exact amount of time the IME doctor spends actually examining you because the IME doctor will prepare a detailed report regarding your injuries despite having only spent a short time actually examining you. (This may be helpful if the matter proceeds to court).
As soon as you are home, sit down and write down every detail you can recall of your IME exam (i.e. time spent with a nurse or doctor, questions asked by the doctor and your answers, tests performed by the doctor, etc.). We understand that you cannot remember everything, but do the best you can. Nonetheless, your lawyer is most effective when he/she has as much information as possible regarding your case. You must provide that information to the attorney. He/she is your advocate, not your private investigator. You are their eyes and ears, so give them as much information as possible- after all, the insurance is doing the same thing to opposing counsel (if the matter proceeds to court).
8. Am I allowed to record my consultation with the workcover independent doctor?
Thank you so much. Its has been a tremendous support and validation.I truly understand the powerlessness that workcover victims feel held hostage to a system that is so adversarial and schizophrenic.
I too have had IMEs that have been misrepresented what I have said and much more in their reports.
So I looked into the Victorian legislation regarding this and have found something of interest that may be useful to you and your audience.
Surveillance Devices Act 1999 – SECT 11
Prohibition on communication or publication of private conversations or activities
11. Prohibition on communication or publication of private conversations or activities
(1) Subject to subsection (2), a person must not knowingly communicate or publish a record or report of a private conversation or private activity that has been made as a direct or indirect result of the use of a listening device, an optical surveillance device or a tracking device.
Penalty: In the case of a natural person, level 7 imprisonment (2 years maximum) or a level 7 fine (240 penalty units maximum) or both; In the case of a body corporate, 1200 penalty units. Note Section 32A applies to an offence against this subsection.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply-
(a) to a communication or publication made with the express or implied consent of each party to the private conversation or private activity; or
(b) to a communication or publication that is no more than is reasonably necessary-
(i) in the public interest; or
(ii) for the protection of the lawful interests of the person making it;
Here is the link to the complete act…..
The injured worker, who shared this information, goes on to write that…upon reading this it seems reasonable to me that not only doesn’t one have to inform the other party that they are being recorded (although one can do that as an option) but that a conversation can be recorded secretly if one deems it reasonably necessary in the public interest and or for the protection of ones legal interest.
Seeing as Worksafe and their workings are of a public nature and these IME apps are made with the precise intention of making legal judgements about someones ability to either work, receive compensation etc, it seems to me that such recordings whether secreted or not are actually quite legal under this act.
This may come in helpful when challenging erroneous reports and decisions such hired guns make that insurers jump on to mitigate their liabilities.
If put into practice on a wider scale and it becomes known, it may have the effect of not only empowering very vulnerable workers but also keep the IMEs and the insurers accountable and maybe more honest.
Of course, I am no lawyer. I am sick but I’m not dumb ( something that the insurers seem to equate) and have looked into my rights on this subject for a little while. I really hope this info can be of some constructive use but I would like your feedback if you want to pass it by Atlas or Shine or whoever you deal with. Remember this is just a Victorian Act so only applies here in Vic.
Please let me know what you find out about this.
Advice from Atlas Legal AU re-recording conversations
Recording IME assessments, or recording your case manager on the phone
Obviously we, aworkcovervictimsdiary, have asked this question quite a few times.
So long as you tell them that you intend on recording a conversation and it is in clear terms then you are covered. If they choose not to have a conversation with you AFTER you have told them you intend on recording the conversation that is their prerogative. If they say, “I don’t want it recorded” and you reply, “Well that’s too bad I am still going to record any conversation we have,” and they continue talking with you and you record the conversation you are covered.
Note: Think about it- how often do you hear ” your call may be monitored and recorded for the purpose of quality improvement/whatever”, when you ring your workcover case manager or ring the WorkCover Authority? Yeah, well, simple, all they’re doing is covering their a*rses by ensuring you are AWARE that you may be or are being recorded, simple as that.
More useful but general advice from Atlas Legal AU re bullying, harassment and collecting evidence
Work Place Bullying and Harassment still continues to this day even after “Brodie’s Law” has been implemented in the State of Victoria. We should not and will not forget that beautiful young lady (Brodie Panlock) and her loved ones. Especially after her young life was cut, so tragically short in the prime of her life, is an absolute tragedy, which should never have happened, and in one, which could and should have been prevented. The treatment by those less than human individuals (calling them animals would be an insult to animals) should never have happened.
Whilst those less than human individuals continue on with their lives, they have caused immeasurable pain and sorrow to young Brodie’s loved ones. Who will have a void in their lives until their last breath? They will always be questioning themselves, why didn’t we see the signs? Was there something we should or could have done? They will live lives of torment and torture for no other reason, other than that those less than human individuals just wanted to have some of their sick so-called fun.
We do not have to tell the members of this web site, that even though Brodie’s law has been implemented, it appears to us that complaints regarding harassment and bullying are not effectively investigated and or enforced. Those Statutory Authorities that have been tasked, trusted and relied upon to investigate and enforce these laws must be held to account. They must be forced if not willing to undertake their statutory duties (on behalf of all citizens in the community) in a professional and effective manner, without adding insult to injury.
Psychological injury, whether it be clinical depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or any other injury of the mind, unlike physical workplace injuries, are difficult to investigate and even more difficult to prove in a Court of Law due to the Rules of Evidence, Statutory provisions and or case law. All workers need to be reminded of, and if not known, taught their rights under the law. It is all too late after the fact, that is, if the damage is done and then you later try to prove your case in court.
If you believe you are the subject of harassment or bullying, AND you suffer a psychological injury as a result of the harassment or bullying, you need to be able to prove your case in court. Now Court processes in Australia are in no way similar to what people see on American TV shows. You may believe that is a given and a stupid thing to point out, but you would not believe the amount of people we come across that ask us questions about things like a right to a phone call and “Miranda Rights.” If you do end up in Court, you need to be able to prove your case in accordance with Australian laws and processes.
Having said that, proving your case in court is not a simple matter of sitting in a witness box and trying to remember all the various incidents that caused your injury. Just YOUR WORD in the witness box may not and usually is NOT enough to establish your case.
Do not forget to include all the details of any witnesses to the incident and their contact details. Collating “Evidence” for Court purposes is NOT an easy task and must comply with certain restrictions. People need to be educated in the fundamentals of how to gain valuable information that can be used as “Evidence.” Not all information available to you can be used as evidence for various reasons. We don’t want to go into the nitty-gritty and bore you with details, so we have given you a very basic method of collating information that may well be used as evidence, by way of keeping a detailed diary.
There may be rare occasions where you may be able to record a conversation without the other side’s knowledge. That is stepping into a dangerous area of the law, and you may risk criminal sanctions. As an example of a rare occasion where it may be permissible to record somebody without their knowledge is, if you believe that you will have criminal allegations made against you by a party and in order to protect yourself from incrimination, you may be entitled to record your conversation without the other side’s knowledge.
Atlas Legal Au made it also very clear that this message in general terms is to thank the administrators and persons responsible for this website and to provide some small element of guidance in relation to making sure you can prove your claims. Laws in relation to these matters, whether it be personal injury, court processes, or evidentiary change from State to State in Australia and again more so internationally. So, in short, make sure you have competent legal advisors in your home jurisdiction if you believe you are the subject of bullying and harassment. Moreover, to make sure you obtain the best evidence possible without contamination of that evidence.
So if you want specific legal advice on your specific situation, you will need to contact a legal advisor (lawyer) within your HOME JURISDICTION (your state) that has professional knowledge and competence in this area (i.e bullying, harassment and how to further collect evidence).
According to the Medical Indemnity Protection Society in an article titled “Are you being recorded”:
There is specific State/Territory legislation relating to audio recordings of private conversations and whether the consent of all parties is required. In all jurisdictions except Victoria, Queensland and Northern Territory, it is illegal for patients to record your consultation without your permission and members with concerns could advise their patients of this scenario.
MIPS has received notifications from members regarding the issue of patients recording consultations, a task which can now be easily performed by any smart phone. More recently, there has been a criminal case in Australia of a patient using a concealed video recorder to record a consultation without the doctor’s consent (Toth V DPP NSW 2014). Some patients have even posted some of these recordings online. Patients might seek your permission to the consultation or decide to record it secretly. Should you grant permission to be recorded or should it be discouraged? Is recording a consultation without your permission illegal?
It may be concerning to you if a patient makes such a request, but if it makes you uncomfortable, you have the option to decline the recording. Should you be suspicious of a patient’s intentions or if you believe the professional relationship has been compromised, another option might be to terminate the patient-doctor relationship. Naturally, you should facilitate continuity of care. Termination may not be appropriate where urgent treatment is required and/or the patient is at risk of any harm.
Always be mindful of your professional behaviour in respect of ending a professional relationship (see 3.13 of Good Medical Practice: A code of conduct for doctors in Australia).
Alternatively, a recording may be viewed as an excellent resource and evidence of your appropriate professional conduct, accepted level of clinical care, behaviour, consent etc. and therefore, stymieing any complaint or allegation of sub optimal care. It may also be used by the patient to better understand the health issues at hand or the management plan you propose. Perhaps you may agree to the consultation being recorded on the basis you are provided with a copy of the recording and include this in the patient record. It should be noted that all electronic communications such as texts, emails and recordings would form part of the patient’s record. As members would be aware any detailed record keeping is a valuable asset in defence of any complaint, claim or investigation against you.
There is specific State/Territory legislation relating to audio recordings of private conversations and whether the consent of all parties is required. In all jurisdictions except Victoria, Queensland and Northern Territory, it is illegal for patients to record your consultation without your permission and members with concerns could advise their patients of this scenario.
You can read the article on the source: https://www.mips.com.au/articles/are-you-being-recorded.
9. Independent medical doctors are bound by Standards of Service
WorkSafe Victoria requires Independent Medical Examiner’s (IME) approved to examine injured workers to comply with these Service Standards. undoubtedly the same will apply in all other states in one way or another.
Source: Worksafe Vic : https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/resources/independent-medical-examiner-service-standards
10. How to complain about an independent doctor
Every state has it’s own workcover Authority with its own policies, standards and regulations. In Victoria, for example, the workcover authority is WorkSafe Victoria.
You can make a complaint about an independent medical doctor to WorkSafe, by using the following form: How to make a complaint.
11. Frequently asked questions about independent medical examinations
Please refer to our FAQ section.
Good luck with your IMEs!