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 agents, Conciliation Officers from the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service (ACCS), self-insured employers, the Magistrates' Court and the County Court.
How to make a referral
For a court referral, please use the Court Referral Template
Otherwise, please submit the referral on your existing referral template:
Convenor of Medical Panels
GPO Box 2709
Melbourne VIC 3001
Convenor of Medical Panels
By email (by arrangement)
Don't forget to let us know if the 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 might need to be delayed to give them time to recover)
Forms and resources
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.
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.
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.
Reviewed 14 January 2021