Medical assessment tribunals (tribunals) provide independent, expert medical decisions about injury and impairment sustained by Queensland workers. The tribunals consist of a panel of specialist doctors.
A worker may be required to attend a tribunal if there are conflicting medical opinions in relation to:
- whether employment has been a significant contributing factor to the worker's injury; or
- whether there is an ongoing incapacity for work as a result of a work injury.
Tribunals can also assess the degree of permanent impairment resulting from a worker's injury. Degree of permanent impairment may also be assessed for disfigurement or scarring as a result of a worker's injury.
Where are they held?
Medical assessment tribunals are held at an office of the Office of Industrial Relations located at 347 Ann Street Brisbane (on the corner of Ann and Wharf Street).
Public transport is available as a travel option with bus stops close by and Central train station, Brisbane City, approximately 200 metres away. Car parking is not available onsite but there are several user pay public car parks close by.
Tribunals are conducted in rooms specially built for medical consultations. Each tribunal room contains an office space where the doctors can talk to the worker. The rooms also have a private consultation space which looks similar to a general practice. This allows the doctors to perform an examination of the worker if required to assess their injury.
Sometimes a worker may need to see the tribunal members at their practices before their tribunal appointment. This is usually required for eye and ear, nose and throat injuries which require specialised equipment to perform an examination.
How is a worker referred to the medical assessment tribunal?
Only an insurer can refer a worker to a medical assessment tribunal. The insurer will inform the worker that their matter is being referred to the medical assessment tribunal before sending the referral paperwork to Tribunal Services within, the Office of Industrial Relations.
Who organises a medical assessment tribunal?
Tribunal Services is responsible for coordinating appointments and providing administrative support to the medical assessment tribunal doctors. Tribunal Coordinators organise tribunals and communicate with the worker. Tribunal Officers assist workers during their tribunal appointment, type the tribunal's decision and once this is finalised will send the tribunal decision to workers, their representatives and insurers.
Tribunal Services are responsible for:
- Scheduling and confirming medical assessment tribunal appointments with workers and insurers
- Processing relevant paperwork
- Providing administrative support to the medical assessment tribunal doctors including typing and sending out tribunal decisions.
Once an insurer sends a referral to Tribunal Services, a Tribunal Coordinator will contact the worker within one to two weeks.
The majority of workers are booked to attend a tribunal within six to eight weeks after their referral information is received by Tribunal Services. If a worker has to travel to attend their appointment, these costs are paid by the insurer.
Workers who have been booked to attend a tribunal can contact a Tribunal Coordinator on 1300 738 197 if they have any questions.
Who sits on medical assessment tribunals?
A worker attending a medical assessment tribunal will be seen by between three and five specialist doctors depending on the nature of their injury. These specialist doctors are referred to as 'tribunal members'.
The tribunal members are specialists in a specific field of medicine. The tribunal members are also completely independent of the insurer who referred the matter.
Medical specialists must apply to be on the medical assessment tribunals. Appointments are made on merit and must be approved by the Governor in Council. A medical specialist is only appointed as a tribunal member if they can demonstrate a high level of knowledge, expertise and experience.
This ensures that workers receive the best possible assessment when they attend a medical assessment tribunal.