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Most popular questions

Your role in return to work

GuidebookHealth professionals play an important role in an injured workers recovery and return to work.

Evidence shows that work is good for health and wellbeing and long term work absence has a negative impact on physical and mental health. Returning to safe work is an important part of rehabilitation.

Early intervention is important. Support your patients to safely stay at or return to work to minimise the social, emotional and financial impacts that an injury can have on their life and to improve their chance of recovery.

Patients don't need to be 100% recovered to stay at, or return to, safe work and are more than three times as likely to return to work soon after injury if their GP gives them a return to work date.

Support your patients back to safe work.

Download the guide for GPs

This guide contains summary information for use by GPs. It should be interpreted within the context of legislative requirements and WorkSafe policies for health providers treating injured workers.

The Claims Process

Claims process

The longer someone is off work, the less likely they are to ever return.

Certificate of Capacity

Certificate of Capacity

Why is it required?

  • To document capacity and communicate with the employer and Agent about what your patient can do.
  • To enable your patient to access income payments.

Certificate of Capacity

How do I complete it?

  • Talk to your patient about the health benefits of working and how they can safely stay at, or return to, work.
  • Diagnosis should identify injury and include bodily location.
  • Complete the certificate based on what your patient can do.
  • Provide a timeline for recovery and return to work.

Evidence suggests that when a health professional contacts their patient's workplace to discuss return to work, their patient is twice as likely to return to safe work as soon as they have some capacity to do so.

The information you provide on the certificate of capacity helps employers to plan and identify safe return to work options for your patient. Certification should always reflect and be consistent with the capacity assessment.

To find out where to access the certificate of capacity and how to complete it visit - certificate of capacity.

GP supports to help patients stay at, or return to, work

There is compelling evidence that, in general, work is good for health and wellbeing. Conversely, the evidence also says long-term work absence, work disability and unemployment have a negative impact on health and wellbeing. 

The best way to support your patient to stay at, or return to, work is to keep everyone talking – the patient, the employer, the occupational rehabilitation (OR) provider and the Insurance Agent.

There are a number of ways you can do this:

Use the time required to talk to your patient about how they can safely stay at, or return to work

Case Conferences*
Arrange a GP Return to Work Case Conference, or ask the Insurance Agent or Occupational Rehabilitation Provider to organise one. Include the patient, employer and any other providers to discuss appropriate supports for your patient.

Phone calls*
Ring the employer to discuss how to safely stay at, or return to, work.

Occupational Rehabilitation Providers
These independent providers specialise in assessing the workplace and planning and implementing return to work arrangements. Contact the Insurance Agent to request an Occupational Rehabilitation Provider.

*Invoice using the fee schedule for 'Medical Services – General Practitioner Return to Work Activities'


  • Communicate with your patient, their employer and other providers
  • Set recovery and treatment expectations with your patient
  • Encourage your patient to think positively about their recovery and return to work. Use these tips to help you get the conversation started.

Return to Work Case Conference 

A case conference is held face to face, by teleconference or video conference and involves a minimum of three people. It must include the patient, the Insurance Agent and Occupational Rehabilitation / Vocational provider.

Your patient's employer and/or support person may also participate in the case conference.

Return to Work Phone Call 

Make a phone call to the patient's employer to discuss the options for your patient to get back to or stay at work. 

Return to Work Worksite Visit

Visit your patient's workplace for return to work discussions and observations and to help get a better understanding of any issues that may impact on your patients return to safe work.

Find out more information on GP Return to Work Activities, related fees and how to invoice WorkSafe.

Treatment and Services for Injured Workers

WorkSafe can pay the reasonable costs of medical and allied health services that are:

  • to treat a work-related injury or illness for which a claim has been made and accepted
  • payable under the legislation including approved by WorkSafe where required
  • necessary and appropriate for the worker's injury or illness
  • delivered by a service provider registered with WorkSafe and, where appropriate, registered under the Health Professions Registration Act 2005 or approved by WorkSafe.

Some treatment and services may need prior approval from the Insurance Agent before commencement.

More information – treatment and services including what can be accessed without request.

Mental Health


*Usual patient billing practices apply (private/bulk billing) prior to the Insurance Agent decision about claim liability.

E-therapy services

Telephone or online support for patients

Employee Assistance Programs

Confidential counselling services offered by some employees

Beyond Blue

Depression and anxiety support                                   

ph: 1300 224 636

Phoenix Australia

Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health    

ph: 03 9035 5599

Mental Health Webinars

The following webinars are available to support healthcare providers assess, treat and manage   patients with a psychological work related injury.

  • How to help your patients with psychological work related injury
  • Supporting return to work for patients with pain and mental health injuries
  • Doctor I'm being bullied at work

Persistent Pain

Network pain management programs may be appropriate for patients who have:

  • an accepted WorkSafe claim
  • persistent pain and musculoskeletal injuries
  • tried a range of other medical and allied health services, and
  • difficulties functioning at home, work or in the community due to their pain

If your patient meets these criteria, consider a referral to a network pain management program.

Providers are located across Melbourne and deliver multidisciplinarly outpatient programs.

To refer your patient to a network pain management program you should write a referral letter to the relevant provider specifying your patient's injuries and the anticipated goals and outcomes of the program for your patient.

A list of network pain management providers is available here.

E-learning module:  

This module explores issues around patients experiencing persistent pain.  It is based on the current best practice evidence and tools available to assist you GPs with their treatment.

View the E-learning module