Win for NT emergency service workers diagnosed with PTSD
In a big win for the Northern Territory’s dedicated emergency service workers, the Northern Territory Government has tabled amendments to the Return to Work Act. Most importantly, these amendments include presumptive post-traumatic stress disorder recognition for paramedics and fire fighters.
Erina Early, United Workers Union NT spokesperson says, “This is the right thing to do for our paramedics and firefighters, and will bring about the cultural change needed in the territory’s emergency services. It will allow our paramedics and firefighters to be confident enough in putting their hands up to say they are struggling, without fear of any reprisal from their employers and insurers.
“Claiming PTSD through workers compensation is stressful and challenging. For too long our paramedics and firefighters are made to feel worthless when they lodge a workers compensation claim.
“The union never wants to see another one of our paramedic and firefighter members go through a rejected PTSD claim again.
“Just recently a paramedic was refused a diagnosed PTSD claim. They were called a liar, greedy and accused of wanting to have time off work. Throughout the claim process they were made to relive traumatic workplace events. This member was a broken person – they would vomit hearing ambulance sirens, become agitated and distressed. It was a heartbreaking situation. It has to stop – these changes to legislation will ensure this won’t happen again.”
Further amendments to the Return to Work Act will ensure world-leading rules for occupational cancer coverage for the NT’s firefighters.
Erina Early says, “The Return to Work Act amendments also tabled additional presumptive occupational cancers for our firefighters – asbestos-related disease, skin cancer, liver and lung cancer. With these additions our NT firies which includes career firies, volunteers and auxiliary staff will have the best coverage in Australia and internationally.”
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