Working effectively with mobile case managers

Contributor: Gavin Shepherd, Medical Advisor

Following the introduction of the Return to Work scheme Iast year, the case management model for managing work injuries changed to a customer-focussed service model. While this might sound like political rhetoric, this model aims to improve recovery and return to work outcomes through:

  • personalised face-to-face support for your patient
  • improved communication between all parties
  • reduction in unnecessary delays.

The key aspect of the new service approach is the personalised face-to-face support the mobile case manager provides to you and your patient – particularly if your patient is likely to be away from work beyond two weeks.

They can work with you as the treating doctor to:

  • identify and address medical or other barriers to recovery
  • incorporate your recommendations into a broader return to work plan
  • provide or obtain information about your patients’ workplace and possible suitable duties, and
  • facilitate the claim and return to work process more generally.
A portrait of Gavin Shepherd.

Photo: Gavin Shepherd

As a medical practitioner, this new approach allows you to focus on treating your patient.

All mobile case managers receive ongoing education and training on how to operate with a respect for patient privacy and recognition of the doctor/patient relationship. They are also encouraged to seek worker and doctor consent prior to participating in a meeting, as well as providing your reception staff with advance notification of their intended visit to your practice.

Work injuries often have greater complexities than the private patient consultation but I am confident that as doctors experience this new service model, the complexity will be reduced, with less medico-legal dispute and better health outcomes for workers. And this is my motivation for working with ReturnToWorkSA.

For more information, please contact our dedicated GP helpline on 1800 180 545 or email