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CM6267 Guideline for Operation of Posthumous Psychiatric Diagnosis Panel
Approved by the Commissions on 24 August 2011
ATTACHMENT A TO THE GUIDELINES FOR PSYCHIATRIC COMPENSATION CLAIMS: CM7014
Posthumous Diagnosis of Psychiatric Conditions
A decision concerning a diagnosis of a psychiatric condition in relation to a deceased veteran must be made by one or more members of the Posthumous Psychiatric Diagnosis Panel, which consists of independent qualified psychiatrists.
This guideline sets out the evidence that must as a minimum exist for a diagnosis of a psychiatric condition to be produced as well as the evidence to be considered in producing the diagnosis.
Operation of the Panel
The Panel will consist of a number of members who will individually produce diagnoses. In all cases, before a case is allocated to a member of the Panel, the claimant or claimant's representative will be provided with a list of Panel members and asked to state a preference concerning which member they would like to assess their evidence. In complex cases, the Panel member may choose to collaborate with another member at their own discretion.
Evidence that must as a minimum exist
The following evidence must be present for there to be any basis for an argument that the veteran had a psychiatric condition:
- Diagnosis by treating psychiatrist;
- Diagnosis by treating General Practitioner; or
- Diagnosis by another individual who in the Panel member's opinion is appropriately qualified to produce a diagnosis in the context of the case; AND
- Documented evidence of treatment in response to diagnosis.
If the treating specialist/GP had reason to believe that the veteran had a psychiatric condition before death, then this condition should at least have been diagnosed, and as a result the treating specialist/GP must have treated the condition and/or its symptoms.
Evidence to be considered
If the above evidence is present, a member of the Panel may then consider other further evidence to identify a diagnosis.
In identifying a diagnosis, a member of the Panel may consider oral or written evidence from:
- Treating General Practitioner;
- Treating Psychiatrist;
- Treating psychologist or VVCS;
- Defence medical and service records; and/or
- Medical files held by treating specialist, GP or DVA.
The above list is exhaustive and a member of the Panel may not consider evidence from any other source. The list is comprehensive in including all available first-hand evidence of the veteran's condition while excluding evidence that has the potential not to be first-hand, such as evidence from the veteran's extended family.
This guideline is not a directive and should not be used as a substitute for the proper application of the law, medical expertise and international standards for diagnosis of psychiatric conditions. It represents the Repatriation Commission's policy on the evidence that must as a minimum exist for an argument to be raised that a psychiatric condition existed prior to the veteran's death, and the evidence that can be considered relevant to the diagnosis of that condition.