What are Medical Panels?
Medical Panels are expert panels of medical practitioners drawn from a wide range of specialty areas statutorily appointed as a List of Eligible Members (the List) by the Victorian Government. From the List, the Convenor of Medical Panels puts together groups of practitioners to form Medical Panels to:
- conduct assessments and examinations
- comprehensively analyse the medical information
- apply the facts to medical questions relating to workers’ compensation or other personal injury law, and make a final and binding decision.
Medical Panels perform a different function to independent medical examiners or other medico-legal work; individually convened Medical Panels function as independent tribunals, and Panel Members are accorded the same protection and immunity as a judge of the Supreme Court in performance of his or her duties.
Medical Panels consists of the medical panellists, a Convenor, a Deputy Convenor, and various specialist staff who support the Panels.
Specialist staff are employed by WorkSafe Victoria to support the medical panellists, and are made up of legal, registry, nursing and business operations experts. Staff are currently led by . A range of separation mechanisms preserve the integrity and independence of the Medical Panels.
Medical panellists are drawn from a wide range of specialty areas of medicine. Eligibility requirements are set out in the selection criteria and include things like:
- Being a currently registered medical practitioner with a minimum of five years of specialty practice supported by a description of years in specialty and/or subspecialty, evidence of fellowship and continuing education in the chosen specialty.
- Completion of (preferred) or enrolment in, the approved training to conduct impairment assessments in accordance with the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (4th Edition). See the .
- Ability to demonstrate a good reputation, expertise and standing within the medical profession detailing appointments/positions held and/or published research.
- Demonstrated ability to work harmoniously within multidisciplinary teams.
- Satisfactory standard mandatory probity checks:
- Nationally Coordinated Criminal Health check
- Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII) check
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) banned or disqualified persons check.
All medical panellists are expected to:
- be respectful and listen to the claimant/worker
- be objective and remain independent
- ensure there is no conflict of interest or unconscious bias
- be timely in answering medical questions, rigorous in thinking, with a collegial approach
Medical panellists do not directly contact anyone involved in the referral.
Individuals are expected to:
- maintain professional development required in the field of expertise
- ensure the AMA4 training is completed in a timely manner (if not already completed)
- attend induction and training programs and participate in ongoing mentoring
- alert the Convenor to any complaints lodged or conflicts of interest
Training and legal knowledge
As a member of a Medical Panel, you’ll work with other members of the Panel to decide on an agreed opinion on the medical question. The Panel will consider:
- the nature of the condition, including the extent and likely medical outcome
- the level of impairment
- if employment significantly influenced the injury
- whether the treatment is appropriate
The Panel will also consider the injured worker’s or claimant’s capacity for work, including:
- assessing work capacity
- evaluating whether the injury caused incapacity for work
- considering what other work the person could do
Training and mentoring is available to Panel Members on aspects of the law that you may not be familiar with. In addition, the legal team support you through this process.
The difference between Presiding Members and Panel Members
Presiding members and panel members perform different roles in a Medical Panel:
Lead the consultation
Responsible for the conduct of the Panel interaction with the worker/claimant (patient)
Take specific aspects of history and examination
Collate reports/information from different specialties involved
Provide the interpretation of relevant investigations
Prepare in a timely manner the initial draft of the Opinions and Reasons (O&R) (decision)
Collaborate in answering the medical questions
Liaise with other Panel Members and legal team to strengthen the O&R
Have input into and review the initial draft O&R
Finalise the O&R
Review and approve the final draft of the O&R
Provide mentoring to Panel Members; participate in specific ongoing training for presiding members
Participate in induction training and ongoing mentoring with presiding members
At first, all appointees are Panel Members until they undertake specific training to develop their skills as presiding members. Presiding members play a key role in the ongoing mentoring of Panel Members through a Quality Improvement Framework.
The work at Medical Panels can fit into your existing commitments. It can be as little or as large as you want, however, any appointment to individually convened Medical Panels is based on the operational needs and referral demands of Medical Panels.
Aside from the consultation appointments, you’ll need additional time to work with your Medical Panel colleagues to develop and deliver the Opinions and Reasons (O&R) documents.
Benefits of appointment to the List
Being a Panel Member provides a number of unique benefits for medical practitioners:
- The work is intellectually and clinically challenging.
- The work is undertaken in a collegial manner with a broad range of medical specialists.
- There is flexible and family-friendly scheduling available.
- Remuneration and onsite parking is provided.
- Ongoing professional development is offered.
Current recruitment cycle
Medical Panels is committed to ensuring an inclusive and diverse environment that recognises, respects and supports its workforce.
Medical Panels has recently closed its recruitment cycle for appointment to the List of Eligible Members (the List) for a period of up to three years from 1 January 2020. The next recruitment cycle will commence in July 2020 for appointment for up to 18 months from 1 July 2021. Enquiries and expressions of interest are always welcome from medical practitioners who want to get involved and find out more about what we do.
Expressions of interest
Reviewed 08 November 2019