Presumptive legislation for emergency service members suffering from PTSD
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There is a crisis affecting current and former emergency first responders, both paid and volunteers and their families in dealing with Anxiety, Depression and PTSD as a result of their employment. The current system takes too long for treatment to begin after diagnosis, with the claimant having to recount their health issues and symptoms over an extended period of time to numerous medical professionals including Doctors, Psychiatrists and Psychologists in an attempt to establish the bone fide of their claim. This lengthy delay in commencing treatment leads to a decline in the claimants mental health often leading to self medication with alcohol, prescription medication and illicit drugs and in some cases suicide. It severely impacts on claimants families and can lead to domestic violence and family breakdown. As well there is an adverse affect on work place colleagues with organisations suffering from the loss of the experienced responder. There needs to be a change from the current system to Presumptive Legislation whereby on submission of a claim the emergency responder commences immediate treatment by medical professionals not connected to the insurance companies whilst the claim is assessed and processed. The treatment of the patient must always be the main focus.
The State Government can amend the current legislation to bring about this change.
As a former first responder I can speak from first hand experience of how PTSD and related mental health issues arising from my employment of over 36 years has adversely impacted on my health and family. I have also witnessed the devastating impact it has on other first responders I have worked with including some who have committed suicide.
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