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Report Validates WCB Direct Access to Physiotherapy Program

March 1, 2011 - Halifax, NS – In a recent report, a stakeholder working group has validated the WCB’s Direct Access to Physiotherapy Program. "Every day we devote our energies to helping injured workers return to work in a safe and timely manner," explains Nancy MacCready-Williams, CEO of the Workers’ Compensation Board. "It is so satisfying to have a report from a group of worker and employer representatives that reinforces the fact the WCB’s approach to physiotherapy is appropriate."

The WCB introduced its Direct Access to Physiotherapy Program five years ago to provide timely and relevant information to assist injured workers with strains and sprains in returning to work as soon as possible following a workplace injury. On average, 3,700 workers with sprains and strains undergo 50,000 treatments at physiotherapy clinics across Nova Scotia each year.

The Nova Scotia Department of Health implemented direct access to physiotherapy for all Nova Scotians in 1998 but some workers raised questions and concerns about the WCB program after it was implemented in 2005. In response to these concerns, the WCB asked a group of worker and employer representatives to share their thoughts and ideas about opportunities to enhance the Program. "Overall, the report states that direct access to physiotherapy is appropriate but it identifies some areas where we can improve how we implement the Program," explained MacCready-Williams. "We sincerely appreciate the time these worker and employer representatives have taken to provide us with advice that represents the views of a majority of the working group. We will now focus our attention on responding appropriately to the recommendations to make a good program even better."

Overall the number of workplace injuries in Nova Scotia has gone down significantly over the past five years. That trend, coupled with increased efforts by workers and employers to help injured workers return to work, along with the Direct Access to Physiotherapy Program, has led to a nearly 50% reduction in the length of time injured workers are off the job due to soft tissue injuries and the cost of these injuries has gone down $11 million annually.

Sprains and strains account for over 50% of all injuries where a worker loses time from work.

Background:  WCB Direct Access to Physiotherapy Program


About the WCB
The Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB) is committed to keeping Nova Scotians safe and secure from workplace injury. The WCB provides workplace injury insurance for more than 18,000 employers, representing about 300,000 workers across the province. The WCB sets the standard for workplace injury insurance by informing and inspiring Nova Scotians in the prevention of workplace injury. If an injury occurs, we support those whose lives it touches by championing a timely return to safe and healthy work.

For More Information Contact:
Mary Kingston
Director, Partnerships