Workers' compensation referrals

An independent medical opinion on workers' compensation cases.

Workers' compensation cases are often referred to Medical Panels if there's a difference in opinion regarding the injury. Once a referral is made, an appointment will be scheduled for a Medical Panel with a suitable mix of doctors.

Who can make a referral

A workers' compensation referral to Medical Panels can be made by:

  • WorkSafe and its authorised agents
  • conciliation officers and arbitration officers from the Workplace Injury Commission (WIC) (previously named Accident Compensation Conciliation Service or ACCS)
  • self-insured employers
  • the Magistrates' Court
  • the County Court
  • Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal (VCAT)

How to make a referral

For a court referral, please use the Court Referral Template

Court Referral Template 2023 - WIRC
PDF 135.62 KB
(opens in a new window)

Otherwise, please submit the referral on your existing referral template.

Submitting the referral

You can submit a referral and the attached documents by:

Email (preferred)

Video files can also be sent as part of the referral documents, however, we currently have a size limit on attachments that can be received via email. For large amounts of referral documents, multiple emails are accepted and/or zipped files may be required to be attached.

Don't forget to let us know if the injured worker or claimant:

  • Has a litigation guardian
  • Needs an interpreter (please tell us the exact language and dialect)
  • Has special requirements or needs, including cultural considerations
  • Is recovering from recent surgery or is going to have surgery soon (the appointment may need to be delayed to give them time to recover)

File sharing

Should the referral documents be too substantial to send via email, provision of documents via an email link to a file sharing service may be appropriate.

Please note: The Medical Panels office does not have ability to access all file sharing services due to security requirements. Should our office be unable to access/retrieve the referral documents from the file sharing service you are utilising, we will contact you directly to arrange alternative submission of documents.

By Post or DX

If you are required to provide large volumes of information or video files on disc or USB, you can submit to:

Convenor of Medical Panels
DX 116

Forms and resources

Convenor's Directions - WorkCover
PDF 310.5 KB
(opens in a new window)
Court Referral Template 2023 - WIRC
PDF 135.62 KB
(opens in a new window)

The referral process

Once we receive the referral, we send acknowledgment letters to all parties. We then contact the person directly to find a suitable appointment time. The waiting time for an appointment depends on the type of injury and the availability of the most appropriate Panel Members.

Once an appointment time has been set, appointment letters are sent approximately four weeks before the appointment with details of:

  • the Panel Members' names and specialties
  • the date, time and location of the appointment

Most appointments are held at our La Trobe St location, but some specialists, for example, ophthalmologists (eye specialists), see people at other locations with specialised equipment.

Appointments involve meeting the Medical Panel, answering questions and often involve a medical examination.

Travel arrangements

Reasonable travel and accommodation arrangements and costs need to be agreed between the parties early in the process to avoid individuals missing their appointments. Organising this is the responsibility of the WorkSafe agent or self-insurer and the injured worker.

Making submissions

A Medical Panel can ask for information or submissions during the referral process. Anyone can send further information and submissions to the Medical Panel, but it's most useful for the Medical Panel to have that information before the appointment. The Medical Panel might need an extension of time if anything is received late in the process. This enables everyone to see the documents and gives the Medical Panel time to consider them.

You should send any documents to the other parties to the referral as well as to us. You can check the lists known as "Enclosure" in the correspondence from us to see what documents have been sent to the Medical Panel. ("Enclosure A" is a list of documents sent with the referral. "Enclosure B" lists any documents that are received after the initial referral, and may be updated more than once throughout the referral process.) A copy of Enclosure B is distributed to all the parties by Medical Panels each time it's updated (i.e. each time additional documentation is added to the referral).

Getting the Medical Panel's decision

Every Medical Panel is committed to finalising and sending its opinion as soon as possible. The time between the appointment and the written opinion/decision is usually about four weeks but can vary based on a number of factors.

Legislation gives a Medical Panel 67 days to make its decision and send it to the referrer. This legislative timeframe starts from when the specific Medical Panel receives referral documents from the Convenor, not from the date you sent the referral. The timeframe can be extended automatically if the Medical Panel has asked for information. It can also be extended with the referrer's consent. For example, a Medical Panel might need more time: to consider information that's received late in the process; if a party indicates they want to make another submission; or if an appointment has been rescheduled.