Since my earlier article Panels Panels Panels Oi! Oi! Oi! there have been some developments with the SA Government proposing the abolition of Medical Panels in that state, but I am yet to see anything to persuade me that properly constituted Medical Panels cannot be better at determining disputed medical issues than a traditional legal process.
I have recently become aware of a website civilforensicpsychiatry.com.au run by Dr Michael Epstein, a Melbourne-based psychiatrist. This site provides guidance to IME assessors, particularly psychiatrists.
Dr Epstein is an advocate of Medical Panels and has had considerable experience as a panelist himself. Victoria has had a long running system of Medical Panels. It is useful to read his perspectives on this subject.
While the blog is freely accessible, the comprehensive resources available through the site are only available to members. The resources include a book ‘A DIY GUIDE TO CIVIL PSYCHIATRIC ASSESSMENT’. There is a $100 ‘life-time’ fee to access the web resources. You also receive a copy of the book.
I have previously referred to an American book ‘Writing and Defending Your IME Report” and expressed my disappointment that there was no discussion about fairness or avoiding bias in the book. Dr Epstein’s book has an entire chapter devoted to ‘Problems with Expert Witnesses’ and discusses the issues of bias and partisanship. There is also discussion about the AMA Guides and their limitations.
Dr Epstein points out that in Victoria there is a consistent approach to impairment assessment in the various jurisdictions within Victoria, but questions whether it is possible to have a national system. See his latest blog post Is a national WorkCover system feasible? While the focus is on psychiatry and Victoria it is a useful read even for non-psychiatrists.
PANELS PANELS PANELS OI! OI! OI!