QLD Medico legal question

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now

Zante2021

Member
27 June 2021
1
0
1
Hi All,

1st time posting.

I have to attend a Medico Legal psychiatrist in Brisbane late next week.

As this is a mental health issue, I wanted a support person. I called the Dr's rooms and asked if this was possible (arranged IME by workcover) I was told the following

1. No suppoert person allowed in appointment.

2. Not allowed to record convo.

3. Not allowed to take notes.

4. I would need to sign a disclaimer for the above or I would not be able to have the appointment.

I spoke to my workcover person and they said they have no control over this. On top of this I am unable to have another dr and If i dont go, no pay.

I explained that in qld it's my right to record a convo both dr room and workcover said i still can't.

Is this correct ? Can I still record in secret (also leagal in qld) ?

Also what if I just write NO as signature for disclaimer?

Cheers for an help

Zante
 

WiserNow

Well-Known Member
10 September 2014
108
16
454
Hi

i am surprised you are not permitted a support person and would certainly double check or take someone anyway and see how you get on.

To be honest it really won’t make any difference to the process you are going through if it is recorded or taking notes. The psychiatrist is paid to find anything else that could have caused your mental illness aside from work. The report they write will be their professional opinion and you can only dispute facts. They will have copies of your medical reports and personal information from your work.

Even if your medical history is 100% clean, no marriage breakups, no personal traumas, no family medical history, no drug, no alcohol, no smoking the psychiatrist may then write it is common of a male/female of xxx age to have the start of psychotic tendencies/issues and it is likely it is this.

The best advice I would give is try your best not to talk too much.. Have simple answers. Watch out for any strategies such as the psychiatrist advising ‘you don’t need to answer this..how is xxxx?’ Find some appropriate wording ‘my preference is not to answer if not required’

You sound like you have anxiety. If so you will be hyper vigilant and lots of everyday events may be unsettling and from someone without anxiety you may present as being paranoid, this is all normal when working in an unsafe environment. The psychiatrist will use this by making you seem slightly unhinged and imagined it all.. You may get asked if you ‘see’ people. This question is worded as a trick.

The appointment will be stressful. Take lots of Valium :) Do the best you can and don’t talk too much In appointment. Give them very little. Be polite. Don’t be obstructive.

in the end you can only do your best. The psychiatrist will find something to put in the report that caused the mental health issue aside from work.

How they sleep at night is beyond me. I guess the $3000 to $4000 per report helps.

You mentioned a work cover person. Do you have a lawyer? If so they should organise a psychiatrist to do an IME which in their professional opinion caused your mental health Issue. This report will be more in your favour.

If Qld is like WA the two lawyers will then use the IME, come to final lump sum (consulting with you) and you having to resign. Medicare will take any amounts for appointments you have had they subsidised for you.

On the side have you check any insurance you have with your super? Income protection or TPD. These have time limits but may be worth pursuing.

I hope all goes well and this has helped.

The information provided is based on my opinion and experience.
 
Last edited:

Rob M

Member
11 July 2021
3
0
1
Often psychiatrists don't like other people in the room as they might subtly influence the answers people give. If you have a valid medical reason they should be able to facilitate that for you. Speak to you GP, if he or she would write you a medical certificate stating that you need a support person, due to your psychological condition, provide that to you insurer. If possible give the insurer as much advance notice as you can.

www.domicilelawyers.com
 

YYT

Member
21 August 2021
1
0
1
Hi Zante, I'm a lawyer at Roche Legal - compensation lawyers in Brisbane. I agree with most of WiserNow's reply to you, but also wanted to mention a few additional points that might help you or others who might be reading:
  • In Queensland, attending an IME for a psych injury as part of the workers' compensation claim process isn't the be all and end all. It is common to be assessed at an IME simply for an initial diagnosis and treatment recommendations so Workcover know what they should be funding and for how long. Towards the end of your claim, if you were diagnosed with a work-related psych injury at your initial IME, you will sit before a medical assessment tribunal (MAT) - effectively 3 psychiatrists each examining you at the same time to offer a joint and balanced report (at least, it's supposed to be balanced). The MAT assessment is much more important than the initial IME.
  • If you take valium or a sedative to help calm you for the IME, tell the doctor you took it, how much, and when - this way he can factor it into your presentation. Some psychiatrists take note of fidgeting as a symptom of anxiety so if the doctor notices you being calm and not fidgeting (simply because you took a valium) then it isn't really a fair observation
I have attended IME's with clients for support at their request, but I always warn clients about this in advance that it typically won't change the outcome and would not be a good use of their money, especially if there is a common law claim to pursue (a common law claim would allow you to get your own independent IME after your final workers' comp MAT assessment).

I've also published an article on what to do when attending an IME which you might find useful.

Good luck and all the best!