Compensation doctor fired after complaints

·2-min read

A doctor used to determine federal workers' compensation claims has been sacked after a litany of bullying complaints emerged.

The Commonwealth's compensation authority Comcare on Wednesday confirmed the doctor was no longer on the payroll following reports of 66 complaints against them since 2000.

Labor senator Tony Sheldon said bullying allegations from claimants against the doctor were raised in South Australian parliament a decade ago.

"The idea that a doctor used to assess psychological injuries was themselves accused of bullying claimants over a prolonged period is deeply disturbing," he told a Senate estimates hearing.

Senator Sheldon said in one allegation, the doctor was accused of reducing a person to cowering in the corner of his office.

In another, he was accused of filming claimants without permission.

Comcare chief executive Susan Weston said steps had been taken to improve services for injured workers as a result of media reports about the issue.

"We do take that matter very seriously. It's in conflict with our values of acting with integrity and respect," she told a Senate estimates hearing.

Comcare's legal manager Matthew Swainson said the doctor stopped being used in June after an internal inquiry.

Officials took on notice whether cases the doctor was involved in were being reviewed.

"We certainly do see the importance of reviewing matters and have taken that seriously as well," Ms Weston said.

Senator Sheldon raised allegations that other doctors used by Comcare bullied claimants, denied people toilet breaks, lied in reports, and used childhood information to determine rejections.

"Is it deeply concerning that we've got allegations against these doctors," he said.

One woman told the ABC Comcare lawyers used her teenage eating disorder and her attending couples counselling as evidence her claim should be denied

Officials said Comcare's systems had been reviewed and changed to ensure complaints would be picked up in future.