Programme of work

Road traffic crash injuries

We do not yet have a good understanding of return to work (RTW) practices for people who have had a minor road traffic injury (RTI). We do know, however, that the types of injuries sustained during a RTI or those that develop as a secondary illness, such as chronic pain and long-term disability, (e.g. ongoing mental health problems), commonly result in work restrictions. We recently investigated the care provided by GPs to patients following a minor RTI. We found that GPs had a moderate to good level of knowledge about the management of two common injuries following RTI - whiplash associated disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. However, GPs who had poor knowledge of PTSD also lacked the confidence to diagnose this condition. We are now looking for ways to improve the care provided by GPs for people following road traffic crash injuries.

Work-related injuries

Research shows that good work is good for your health, and that return to work (RTW) after an injury can promote recovery. General Practitioners (GPs) play a critical role in the RTW process in both the TAC and WorkSafe compensation systems. In our previous research projects we have studied the attitudes and behaviours of GPs in consultations with TAC clients and injured workers. We discovered that the Certificate of Capacity was problematic, and that GPs role in the compensation process was confusing to the injured workers and the GPs themselves. A redesigned Certificate of Capacity is now in use, and we are looking at ways to help GPs play a more clearly defined role in RTW.