Receiving the medical assessment tribunal decision
The medical assessment tribunal decision is usually finalised within ten days after the worker has attended their appointment. A copy of the tribunal decision is sent to the worker, insurer and the worker's representative if they have one. All medical assessment tribunal decisions are communicated in writing. Decisions are never communicated to a worker verbally. The written decision includes the reasons for the decision and all the information that was considered by the tribunal members. This ensures that the worker and the insurer can clearly understand how the tribunal members reached their decision.
The worker and insurer will be advised by the Tribunal Coordinator if there is any delay in sending a tribunal decision.
A tribunal decision may be delayed if the tribunal doctors require more information or medical imaging regarding the worker's injury that was not available at the time of the tribunal appointment. A tribunal decision will not be delayed any longer than a maximum of three months at any one time.
Can a medical assessment tribunal decision be changed?
Medical assessment tribunal decisions are final.
A worker may have the opportunity to attend another medical assessment tribunal only if new medical information becomes available, that was not originally available to the tribunal members at the time of the initial appointment. This is called 'fresh medical evidence'.
Fresh medical evidence must be provided within 12 months of the worker's original medical assessment tribunal appointment.
If a worker considers that they have fresh medical evidence that is relevant to their injury, the worker should advise the insurer as soon as possible and provide the insurer with the fresh medical evidence.
An insurer will only refer fresh medical evidence to Tribunal Services, the Office of Industrial Relations if:
- It is less than 12 months since the worker attended their first medical assessment tribunal appointment; and
- The worker's injury/illness is covered under the Workers' Compensation Act 1990 or later.
If the new medical information meets this criteria, the insurer is responsible for submitting the fresh medical evidence to Tribunal Services. This information is then considered by a Review Panel.
The Review Panel consists of a medical assessment tribunal Chair or Deputy Chair and one of the original tribunal doctors that attended the worker's first tribunal appointment.
The Review Panel's role is to consider the new medical information provided and decide whether to accept or reject it as fresh medical evidence. This information is only reviewed in terms of how it relates to the matter that was originally decided by the tribunal.
If the Review Panel rejects the new medical information, the original tribunal decision is final and it cannot be appealed or challenged.
If the Review Panel accepts the medical information as fresh medical evidence, the insurer will refer the worker to another medical assessment tribunal. Tribunal Services will make every effort to try and allocate the new tribunal to the same tribunal members that conducted the first tribunal.
The finality of tribunal decisions does not affect rights under the Judicial Review Act 1991. Further information regarding judicial review is available here.