Bouncing Back After Work Injury

In September 2022, the Government rolled out the Pilot Rehabilitation Programme for Employees Injured at Work, providing injured construction employees with private out-patient rehabilitation treatment services to facilitate their early recovery and return to work.

 

Mainly funded by the Government, the three-year pilot programme targets injured construction employees. Participants only need to pay the same fees as public hospitals or public clinics to receive private out-patient rehabilitation treatment services.

 

Special treatment

Last November, plumber Aron Lau injured himself at work. A visit to the Accident & Emergency Department at a public hospital revealed that he had fractured one of his fingers.

 

“The programme charges the same fees as public hospitals, yet provides services comparable to the private sector, which is quite impressive. I am very satisfied with the programme as it enabled me to return to work much sooner,” he said.

 

The Labour Department introduced Mr Lau to the rehabilitation programme which he decided to join while undergoing a two-month recovery process.

 

“I frequently saw occupational therapists and doctors, more often than what was being offered in public hospitals. I would visit the doctor once every two weeks and the appointments were lengthy. They informed me about the potential long-term effects and provided detailed explanations, allowing me to mentally prepare for any possible complications.”

 

After receiving five sessions of occupational therapy, Mr Lau recovered and returned to work.

 

Comprehensive service

Participants will each have a designated person to follow up with their rehabilitation treatment and return-to-work arrangements.

 

The rehabilitation treatment services they can receive include medical treatment provided by general practitioners/family physicians, orthopaedic doctors or occupational physicians, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and imaging examination services.

 

Labour Department Occupational Health Consultant Dr Wan Yuen-kong noted that as of the end of April this year, 769 construction workers had joined the programme, with 76% having recovered after treatment.

 

“Injured workers have to confirm with the Work Injury Rehabilitation Office within six months from the date of their work injury, in order to grasp the golden period for rehabilitation treatment.”

 

Dr Wan added that quite a lot of injured workers opt for public healthcare services as they are more familiar with being treated by the Hospital Authority and prefer not to change.

 

To boost the participation rate, the Labour Department will further enhance understanding of the programme among employers and employees by increasing promotion of the scheme. 

 

Scope expanded

On May 9, the programme was extended to include the catering and hotel industry as well as the transportation and logistics industry. Occupational injury cases that occurred on or after April 1 this year are covered under the extended programme.

 

The programme’s service contractor has also recruited additional manpower for the Work Injury Rehabilitation Office and strengthened the network of rehabilitation professionals to meet the demand.

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