Medical Panel Referrals
Many Conciliation Officers will first seek the views of the parties before they make their decision to refer a matter the Medical Panels however it is the Conciliation Officer's decision, not the decision of the parties. If one or another party, or even all the parties want a matter to go to the Medical Panel, this will not necessarily be the result. The Conciliation Officer may still decide not to refer the matter.
A Conciliation Officer under the Act has discretion to decide whether or not to refer a matter to the Medical Panels.
Who are Medical Panels and what do they do
The Medical Panels are set up under the Accident Compensation Act as a separate organisation.
The role of the Medical Panels is to answer "Medical Questions". A Medical Panel gives an "Opinion" in answer to Medical Questions that are put to it.
A Medical Panel Opinion or Determination on a medical question must be accepted as final and conclusive.
The doctors will get all relevant information in the Conciliation Officer's possession with the Medical Questions that have been referred to them by the ACCS.
When Medical Questions are referred to the Medical Panels a panel of doctors is convened to examine the worker and answer the Medical Questions referred by the Conciliation Officer.
Following this, one of the members of the Medical Panel (who acts as the Chair) will gather all the opinions and produce, the Certificate of Opinion and Reasons for the Opinion.
Again, it is important to note that the Medical Panel's Opinion is final and conclusive.
Referrals to the Medical Panels from ACCS
Depending on the circumstances of the dispute, the Conciliation Officers will consider the views of the parties before they exercise their discretion whether or not to refer a matter to the Medical Panels. The decision to refer a matter to the Medical Panels is solely the Conciliation Officer's decision. If one or another party, or even all the parties want a matter to go to the Medical Panel, the Conciliation Officer must still agree to this request.