F. Change the way we work with health professionals

319 people provided feedback on this proposal.

Level of support for proposal

What we plan to do in 2014/15 and later years:

  • 73 people strongly agreed
  • 156 people agreed
  • 57 people neither agreed nor disagreed
  • 19 people disagreed
  • 14 people strongly disagreed.

The order we are planning to do them:

  • 58 people strongly agreed
  • 159 people agreed
  • 67 people neither agreed nor disagreed
  • 20 people disagreed
  • 15 people strongly disagreed.

Suggested changes to the long term plan

A number of people considered that reviewing the medical information Work and Income needs about a person’s health condition or disability was a priority and needs to be brought forward.

There was varying support for the trial of application for benefit without requiring medical certificates in a Work and Income site. Some thought this would be a backward step and strongly supported that doctors maintained a role in identifying fitness to work. Others said disabled people were the experts on their ability to work and the medical profession should not be involved in this type of assessment. A number of submitters felt this work needs to be brought forward earlier in the long term plan.

There was varying support for the review of the types of health and disability professionals who can provide Work and Income with information about the impact of the person’s condition or disability on their ability to work. A number of people said this should only be the person’s doctor. Others supported that range of health professionals should be able to provide this type of information to Work and Income.

Suggested actions for Work and Income

Work and Income must assure health practitioners that their advice is being taken into account and not over ridden by third parties.

A number of people commented that it was unreasonable to have to produce medical certificates and receipts to prove a medical condition or disability. Clarification is required about the reasons people are required to produce medical certificates is to establish ability to work or to prove costs of disability.

Comments also included the following:

  • Replace current medical certificates with forms that objectively and accurately assess ability to work and difficulties to work.
  • Privacy must remain a high priority when sharing information (e-lodgment).
  • Make sure that information from medical certificates that are electronically submitted in centrally processed. Otherwise information can still get lost or not used.
  • Involve disabled people in designing processes and making changes.
  • Increase communications and awareness-raising with health professionals so they know what is going on in Work and Income.
  • Provide support to health practitioners so they consistently provide honest accounts of people’s ability to work. Some people raised concerns that ability to work is not being properly assessed by doctors. Instead medical certificates are being completed on self-reports from the client.

Suggested actions for government agencies

The Ministry of Health needs to continue to reinforce that employment is a positive health intervention and outcome.

Back to content page | Previous page | Next page

Print this page.