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icare pilots medical panel to cut treatment delays

Insurance & Care NSW (icare) is trialling a medical support panel to reduce processing times for treatment in workers’ compensation claims from up to six weeks to a few days.

Over the next 12 weeks the panel of doctors will help icare scheme agents fast-track injured workers to receive treatment as soon as possible.

Chief Medical Officer Chris Colquhoun says injured workers currently face waits of up to six weeks before a treatment plan is approved.

“The delay is not only frustrating to injured workers, employers and treating doctors, but also potentially adversarial,” Dr Colquhoun said.

He says delaying treatment can lead to deterioration in conditions and further complications.

“Weeks of delay is simply not acceptable. We’ve looked around the world at what other health and injury organisations do, and found that a panel of medical experts providing guidance can speed up the process considerably. Our pilot goal is to speed it up to no more than five days.”

The medical support panel’s recommendations will be evidenced-based and tap into the latest medical practices.

The pilot also aims to collate evidence about the benefits of early intervention on quality of life and return-to-work outcomes.

icare will decide whether to continue with the panel at the conclusion of the trial.

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