Police suicide and workers compensation – remembering Ashley Bryant

ptsd-suicide-police

The following article and story were submitted by an ex-police officer who attempted suicide, in the context of the recently aired documentary “Police officer’s suicide call ‘I’ll be gone before they arrive” by Channel 7’s Sunday Night program.

Police suicide and workers compensation – remembering Ashley Bryant

Submitted by ‘HeadNoises”

On Sunday 16 November 2014 in NSW, Channel 7’s ‘Sunday Night’ program showed a documentary in relation to the police suicide of Ashley
Bryant
. ashley-bryant2

He was suffering from PTSD and killed himself from what seems to be as a result of the poor the treatment he was receiving at the time from the workers compensation insurer. He was such a nice bloke. Such a huge loss. His death should not be in vain….

The documentary highlighted the number of police suicides. What needs to be highlighted as well are those medically discharged police who suicide.
And what about the many police/ex-police who have attempted suicide?

I fall into that category. If it wasn’t for a mate who called the police and their quick response, I may very well have been dead right now.

I just hope that attempt suicide statistics are also gathered as they are part of this greatly important inquiry that seems to be developing
in light of the program. There would be a huge amount. And this would correlate closely to the number of police/ex-police hospitalised into
psychiatric wards – many repeatedly for suicidal attempts as well as for feeling suicidal (without an attempt) and seeking help, plus those
riddled with depressions, anxiety and PTSD symptoms that have got so bad that hospitalisation is the outcome. I believe hospitalisation
statistics also should be added to the information provided to an inquiry.

The Forgotten 300 I know have been campaigning as well for the atrocious treatment of injured workers by the insurer MetLife.

Ashley’s suicide surely means that a royal commission or very thorough inquiry and investigation needs to be made throughout the whole Workers Compensation system, the allegations of illegal fraudulent reporting by IMEs (Independent Medical Examiners), the potential criminal conduct of insurance agents, the lack of adherence to OH&S by Police and their relationship with insurers, the carte blanche surveillance approaches, the whole legal process and the defence basing evidence off biased doctors, what levels of integrity were used to decide to use these doctors and what is their history and relationship to insurance companies and police defence teams in court.

What are the levels of bias within the IME system with the appeals being overseen by other IMEs known to each other in the WCC? We need
to look at all IMEs and what they are being paid and what they are being used for as well as IMEs in the past who have been favourable
towards a claimants claim being struck off their books. My first IME was sacked after he made a mistake as to the type of interview he was
supposed to be carrying out. i.e. an administrative oversight – but EML sacked him. Not given another chance. And instead I went to a
hired gun IME.

Investigations into IMEs need to be deployed in an intrusive thorough and secretive manner. There needs to be the use of the ICAC and an independent investigative authority with no conflict of interests.

This needs to span deep within the whole system.

Witnesses are needed who can roll-over and provide incriminating evidence. People need to be charged, convicted, gaoled, sued, have their practicing licenses taken off them. They need to be named and shamed.

As has been shown on 60 Minutes New Zealand – there are witnesses within the insurance system for starters who have mentioned using these highly paid IMEs to ‘exit’ difficult and long term claimants. And they are now in Australia.

It makes me feel physically sick.

ashley-bryantPlease can you set up a page dedicated to Ashley Bryant and address what needs to take place.

This is for all the honest hard working police and ex-police in NSW, but also for everyone else embroiled in this system who has been touched in any way by suicide and/or attempt suicides.

Thank you.

 

Related articles on the news:

Police officer’s suicide call ‘I’ll be gone before they arrive’

Our shameful silence on police suicide

Death in the line of duty

Death in the line of duty: breaking the silence on police psychological injuries (David Shoebridge)

Ashley Newton BRYANT (Australian Police)



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12 Responses to “Police suicide and workers compensation – remembering Ashley Bryant”

  1. I don’t think I could have put this better myself.

    Prophetic words

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  2. As I’ve read about this policeman and so many other heart-rending stories (and even reflect on my own) I find it increasingly impossible to watch Workcover’s false and misleading tv advertising. At what point do we claimants stop trying to work individually within what is in effect the Workcover industry that is totally corrupt and focussed on money-making enterprises for a range of professionals and administrators that effectively minimize the protection of workers and their families (despite the glowing picture painted in Workcover Victoria advertisements)? Isn’t it about time we considered taking a class action against Workcover – even if we have to do it state by state? The Workcover Victoria ads are FALSE advertising. They lull the working populace into a false sense of security that if they are injured at work they will be taken care of until they are able to return to work. Together we may have greater power than we do as individuals. If we continue to act alone as individuals (even with excellent legal help) we will continue to have our rights abused, overlooked, exploited, minimized and dismissed. Meanwhile the corrupt and self-sustaining industry that has developed will allow its other stakeholders (insurance companies, IMEs and other medicos, the legal fraternity, etc.) to continue to gourge themselves like swine at the troughs of money to be made through the Workcover system. Does any body out there hear me? This is JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
    Also, re. IMEs: why is there not a record kept of each IME’s score of claim knockbacks; ie. ratio of claims that each IME supports to those he/she rejects on so-called “medical grounds”? This could be correlated with the ratio of those same claims that are reversed at the Medical Panel and/or in court. I know that statistics regarding the prevalence of each type of injury already exist, but patterns in MIE and Medical Panel assessments of each type of injury should also be recorded and analyzed. There should also be some statistical analysis of those people who give up their claim after an IMEs report; ie. why did they give up on their claim (those in power can suggest it is because they were malingerers, or perhaps that they and their personal physicians agreed with the IME’s report etc, but how many just get sick of fighting); what happens to these people – do they return to work, try to get medical assistance outside of Workcover, and/or simply end up on some form of disability assistance or welfare? There would not need to be any identifiable patient records kept, but oversight of such statistics could clearly indicate IME lack of objectivity or independence (as well as those who are “star” performers). Perhaps an Ombudsman could have such oversight as Workcover may not be sufficiently impartial in this situation? These are some of my current thoughts!

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    • Yes Sarah Jane,i totally agree with you.Those ads on the tv are just so false,the publics heads get full of shit of how injuried people get treated when hurt at work and so on.Not until it happens to them do they realize what a hell hole it is.The way im treated as others are to when you go to an IME like you are a criminal they look down their big fat noses at you spoken to like shit,and they make $$$$$$ out of us.Everyone I have been to might as well had a t-shirt on saying I love your insurance company.Im so glad that sunday night ran that story not only for the police officers but it also help to put it out in the public to what they do to us for example those PI idiots how many have I had follow my,i can spot them a mile awat mind you they stand out like dog balls,so I just wave at them and they drive off.People are gob smacked when you tell them what they do to us.It has to stop there needs to be changes.

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    • A class action – now that is exactly what I was thinking. But in reality no law firm would want to touch it. In my case I was bullied at work and have a tonne of evidence along with witnesses and even the commission acknowledged laws were broken, however law firms consider my case too “costly” due to the complexity of the matter (hence why I had trouble getting somebody) In saying that, a class action would certainly be deemed costly and complex.
      Has anyone wondered why the powers that be have no interest in fixing this broken, polluted and corrupt system?

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  3. Glad you agree with me Tony. I really mean it; we do need to consider some form of legal class action, rather than continuing to participate as individuals in a system that is rotten to the core. I was working in OHS in the late 1980s/early 1990s when the prevention, rehabilitation and compensation sides of Workcover were seen as inextricably linked. The compensation system was set up to AVOID choking up the courts with lengthy, expensive negligence claims. Rehabilitation was supposed to be implemented where appropriate to encourage a realistic return to work. It was supposed to be linked with systematic attempts to improve OHS in Victorian workplaces. Now prevention seems to have been placed on the back burner – it’s given lip-service, (and plenty of advertising air time) but not much else! (I have even personally witnessed a company whose HRM boasted to me that his firm’s number crunchers had worked out the financial cost savings of getting rid of workers prior to their 5th employment anniversary rather than spending the money required to make the workplace safe. They’d figured that at the 5 year mark, their workers’ bodies would be so broken down, they would be at the point of making a Workcover Claim, so it would be more cost effective to lay all employees off before they could do so, and replace them with a fresh crop of bodies to ruin. ie. This was cheaper than spending the money to make the work environment safe. It did not matter at all that these [mostly male] employees would have difficulty earning a living thereafter.) Twenty-five years later Workcover has developed into the ponderously slow, corrupt and self-sustaining quagmire that it is today. It is a process that delays, intimidates, obfuscates and denies the fundamental rights that are supposed to be the injured worker’s due. It is not improving the physical and mental outlook of workers who are injured; it is exacerbating their injuries and as a result magnifying the limitations on their ability to recover and return to work. It makes no real provision for claimants too ill or injured to even consider a return to any form of work; whose only option is the welfare system and a long drawn out common law claim through the courts. Injured workers face financial ruin, pressure on their relationships and all when they are in physical or emotional pain caused not only by their work injuries, but on top of that the psychological trauma resulting from their treatment by Case Managers (and the PI’s they employ), Employers, IME’s etc. – all of whom have their own financially-based agendas. The Victorian “Workover system” as it has been more accurately designated by writers on this site, has more in common with the Dickensian justice system of Victorian England than with the system implemented 25 years ago. It is outrageous that a system supposedly overseen by a state government department should be allowed to peddle in perpetuity the myth that Workcover provides security for Victorian workers injured at work. If any private firm made such false and misleading claims in its advertising it would be dragged before the ACCC, subjected to rigorous scrutiny, then be forced to pay stiff penalties. Why is the Workcover system – in every state it seems – permitted to continue masquerading the truth? Why are we, the victims of their skulduggery allowing ourselves to be picked off individually? Why aren’t we organising, or better still organizing a qualified law firm to work with us as a group to start a class action against Workcover for not performing in the real interest of claimants as it suggests is it’s purpose in its public advertising?

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  4. Police on the scrap heap: The hidden plight of injured officers (SMH)- another terrible story highlighting the plight of injured police officers.

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    • I have spoken to and heard of several colleagues still employed in the NSW Police who have and are still suffering from PTSD symptoms. It worries me because there is now a reluctance for police with serious psychological injuries to lodge claims since the drastic cuts to the Death & Disability Scheme and changes to the Workers Compensation Act. We have mentally ill/disordered police carrying guns and having to make rational decisions in life threatening situations. There are police who are charged with criminal offences or sacked who are later diagnosed with PTSD or other mental disorders. They are extremely vulnerable. Look at why police who know they are on camera, lose the plot and assault someone. They are not thinking rationally. Their fears/interpretation of a threat are exaggerated because of their undiagnosed conditions.
      Police are staying in when in fact they are not psychologically fit to be working. This is definitely a contributing factor as to why there has been a drastic reduction in claims.
      Police, like everybody else are concerned about being able to financially survive in the future. Yes the drastic reduction in lump sum payouts has caused a reduction in claims – because survivability outside the cops has been reduced when you face the reality of being unable to work ever again. And to exacerbate this issue is the Return to Work programs where the insurer tries to choose your next career. I have heard of really bad choices that would just be constant triggers/demoralizing for the ex-police.
      When the Death and Disability Scheme was introduced in 2005 there was a huge surge of claims – because for the first time in ages police who have likely been sick for a long time could put up their hands and get help. It’s like having a seeping wound that you could finally get treated – so there is going to be a line-up.
      So these statistics that SMH have revealed with the drastic reduction in claims does not correlate to the reduction in psychologically and physically injured cops.

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      • Dear Head noises,i totally agree with you,what the insurer does to you how you are treated I would not wish on my worst enemy.People don’t realize what a police officer has to see to hear and to deal with in his or her everyday shift.The IME doctors you are sent to are clearly working for the insurer and themselves I swear when they look at you they see $$$$$$.The amount of money the workcover system makes out of us is incredible,and the insurer will spend a thousand to save one dollar,they themselves are the crimals.We should be taking better care of our officers treating them with the respect they all deserve,can you imagine what it would be like without them I would hate to think about it.

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  5. OMG beautifully written Sarah Jane, I fully agree on a class action state by state. I was going to end my life after the bullying by the QBE TMF insurance case manager. GOD BLESS YOU ASHLEY NEWTON BRYANT REST IN PEACE xxx. I can fully understand what he would have gone through because I have been on this walk with the bullying and the pain you live with 24/7, it makes you feel that your own death would be the only way out and to be free not only for yourself, but also for the ones who have to see your suffering. The way QBE TMF case manager’s treat you is like you are nothing more than a number who is out to rip off the system.The things they say to you when they ring can be very rude and abrupt leaving you straight into further depression. On occasions when I think I’m being followed I get home and I lock myself away, isolating myself from society. We don’t matter to the insurance companies because they don’t care about us, the quicker we commit suicide, they can permanently put our files away as case closed. I have been sent to some of the hired top guns that have been listed on this site and I had no idea that other injured workers like myself who see IME’s had the same problems with IME’s not reporting correct facts. I can only say reading this site has given me HOPE!!! in the knowledge that there are others who get unfairly treated by these first fleet medico’s. IME’s also have this thing about getting you to get undressed and to put a hospital gown on, WHY???. They are looking at my KNEE’S????. I feel they make you do this to intimidate you and they feel they have the upper hand over you. I wear a dress to these medical appointments so it so easy to see my knee’s. Everyday I try to give myself a reason to be here some days are better than others but having PTSD in my life can be hard we don’t need these Doctors making it worse for us as for IME’s they have no integrity. The almighty dollar is what they want as I said in another post they are as independent as the person paying the BILL. My view of IME’s are no more than a pack of “BASTARDS”. My reports are always wrong and my last visit to a IME psych I told him what I thought of him and he said “he cared about me” and I laughed at him I said “you care about the $2,000 or $3,000 you will get paid or let me guess you all ready have been paid”. IME’s get their MONEY FIRST ,who else gets paid before doing a job.

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  6. How is it we have an Act that details services (including insurance companies) taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of those with a diagnosed disability (PTSD is a clinical diagnosis). The HREOC appears to say that Workcover is outside any legislation which is against discrimination & abuse of a person with a disability (including psychological). How do we have laws to protect & yet the legislation which is ‘outside’ some?

    It saddens me that any person should take their life due to the pressures endured & symptoms exacerbated by a process of making a genuine claim & in many cases forced upon you without your consent, due to an injury sustained in the line of duties.

    This is not unique to the Police force or the Military, it is across all professions.

    It is not a competition or to minimise anyone’s suffering; there are emergency services, child protection, corrective services, etc who also work with these very same criminals & their victims & spend many hours case managing these same cases & there are psychological scars across all professions & the treatment by insurers is absolutely no different.

    I recently received information that my Govt Insurer – QBE / TMF (Treasury Managed Fund) had organised private investigation – my case involves long term stalking by a number of criminal offenders, rendering my family homeless, on the go & medically retired with an accepted claim (yet now in the negligence phase, so QBE have stepped up the pressure).

    QBE of course denied the claim & said they had not organised anything. So I conducted my own investigations into the caseworker who has since made my life hell.

    It appears that in the last 6 mths since he took on my case & the pressure started (stopped my payments due to computer gliche, lost paperwork etc), that this caseworker has clocked up an awful lot of mileage including turning up at all the same locations (including interstate) that I have either stayed or visited or have family/friends. Including have a photographer/video guy sitting in his car out the front of a small public pool while my children were at a child’s birthday party.

    In what other industry is it permitted to film children without anyone’s consent?

    In what other industry is it permitted to intimidate & harass & stalk family, friends, colleagues, anyone known to you?

    The above conversations are correct. We need to step up & fight back only the issue is many have their own diagnoses & battles to fight & we don’t have the time, energy or capacity & we are already struggling.

    They push people with the intention that you will take your life or quit, either way they save money. It is immoral, corrupt & it is difficult to believe unless you are involved in this Workcover process.

    I found details of my caseworker & I took his picture & I have circulated to family, friends & anyone who cares/knows me, so that we he does sit out the front with his camera & he does approach innocently & strike up conversations, they will be ready to tell him where he can go next.

    What ignorance of these companies to think they can investigate people whose primary role before being medically retired was to investigate! Its a joke really.

    There is no compensation for our children, our families, the collateral damage as a result of our employment. There is no provision for my children’s psychological needs, their counselling, their removal from school, moving all the time, giving up their friends, routines, activities, there is nothing for them.

    We should be able to name & shame these caseworkers & put their pictures up & invade their privacy.

    This false claim by Metlife, EML & even QBE stating their practice is as a result of the huge number of fradulent claims.

    I don’t believe there are many at all. That their complete goal is to make genuine claims deniable. To find anything & everything they can to push people out of the system they thought was going to protect them in the event of a workplace injury.

    The arrogance of these insurers to take on workers who faced some of the most horrific events in society, worked with threats & intimidation & violence & think that these insurers, their admin workers/caseworkers can intimidate & threaten with their pressure, financially isolating you, exacerbating your symptoms, resulting in some cases in suicide/death, is beyond comprehension.

    Expose them, expose all of them, the caseworkers who work in these environments & participate in this process & the companies who pay them. Time to turn the lens around, off the genuine claims & victims of Workcover & onto the caseworkers & corrupt insurers who will do anything to avoid payment, even push people to take their own lives.

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    • @Maggie J
      Ring the case complaints manager and ask that C/M be removed due to conflict of interest.
      If you are in Vic I can give you a Couple of numbers to try and sort your C/M Out.
      Just E-Mail me happy to help to screw QBE.
      Warm Regards Captain Harry Rort.

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