Make public entities follow their statutory obligations
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A matter of public interest
Public & Private sectors alike in Australia have Statutory Laws(Acts) that govern how they need to deal with the public's privacy. Apart from Statutory Law, the Code of Conduct of each of these entities is something every employee are bound to abide by. Unfortunately though, the reality is that they really don't care about the individuals on the other side, the persons who they deal with and those who's entire live depend on the decisions they make...
I am looking for individuals who dealt with WorkCover Qld. Particularly I am looking for persons who only had a Statutory Claim, in other words those who have only claimed medical expenses and payment of wages for the time being away from work. I want to know who of you, if any had a letter sent to your GP/Specialist with the following wording:
Subject: Injured worker: ________; Date of birth: __________; WorkCover's reference: _____________ Request for: your records
I am writing to you in relation to a Notice of Claim for Damages lodges by __________ under the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilition Act 2003 ('the Act') for an injury sustained in an event on or around ____________.
Pursuant to section 279(1)(b)(iv) of the Act ________ is required to give to WorkCover Queensland information reasonably requested in relation to his/her medical history, as far as it is relevant to the claim. This includes any medical conditions, illnesses or injuries that are unrelated to the workplace injury as they are relevant in assessing the claimaint's past and future economic losses.
Please find enclosed the claimiant's signed written authority pursuant to section 275(7) of the Act. This authority authorises you to provide WorkCover Queensland with a complete copy of your medical rile in relation to ________, including:
1. treatment notes 4. test results; and
2. correspondence 5. other investigations
I request you also confirm when ___________ first attended your medical practive by inserting this date on our attached reference sheet. Please return this sheet together with your copies file.
Should you be unable to provide a copy of your dical file within fourteen (14) days of the date of this letter, be sure to inform WorkCover Queensland immediately. If the above-named has not attended your medical practive, please advise WorkCover Queensland in writing.
The authority attached to the letter as copied above, would have been accompanied by an "Application for Compensation Form" created by WorkCover Qld with your name printed on the form as the authority for the doctor to release the information to WorkCover Qld.
How is the above letter wrong:
Do yourself a favour and compare this letter with the actual wording of the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act. You will find that the section in the letter: "This includes any medical conditions, illnesses or injuries that are unrelated to the workplace injury as they are relevant in assessing the claimaint's past and future economic losses." do not appear in the act. In fact, the act only allow collection of information directly related to your specific injury/illness.
The authority referred to in this letter (if they have attached the Application for Compensation Form) is not correct either. According to the specific information quoted in the letter your signed written authority is required. In addition this section of the act refer only to Common Law cases and NOT Statutory cases. Therefore if you only applied for Workers Compensation Benefits such as medical expenses or payment of a percentage of your wages - WorkCover Qld had no right to request all your medical information. Not to mention that the authority on the Application for Compensation Form only covers relevent information as well, in other words information that is directly related to your condition and NOT your entire medical history.
What can be done about it:
According to the Qld Information Privacy Act section 158, a compliance notice can be issued if an agency are engaged in a practice in contravention of the Information Privacy Act, however this act must have also been done on at least 5 separate occasions within the last 2 years.
In addition a new privacy bill have been passed in parlement in 2017, taking action against government agencies, companies and individuals who breach the privacy of individuals. The more serious the offence and the information it relates to, the more significant the penalty would be. Unfortunately, I am still uncertain if Qld Government agencies are covered by this bill, however am working on finding out exactly to what extent if any.
In the mean time, I need to gather information from as many private individuals as possible with a possibility of a class action against WorkCover Qld for the breach of Privacy, breach of Confidentiality, and Breach of Duty of Care/Contract.
If you had dealings with WCQ and the same letter as the one I have copied above have been sent to your doctors, please come in contact with me urgently through the following e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
How can you get the information:
- Request a copy of your entire claim file with WorkCover Qld; or
- Request a copy of the letter & authority from your doctor
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