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3. Disclosure of Reports -


Access to a psychiatric report may be requested under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FoI) by the claimant or their authorised representative, and, in the event of an application for review of a Commission decision or subsequent appeal, the report may be made available to the Veterans' Review Board (VRB), Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or Federal Court.

In all the situations noted above, there may be times when it is considered inappropriate to release a report either directly to a claimant or to have it included in review or appeals documents. Staff handling FoI applications are aware of the options available in these situations. It is also possible to take steps to have reports provided to the VRB and AAT treated as confidential.

A psychiatrist completing a report at the Department's request may advise that the claimant will benefit from ongoing treatment from his/her General Practitioner or other medical practitioner. In these circumstances consent must be obtained from the claimant before forwarding the report. Psychiatrists should not send the report to the claimant or the General Practitioner unless and until the claimant's consent has been obtained.

Psychiatrists should be advised that if there is material in the report which could be harmful to the health of the claimant it should be on a SEPARATE page, clearly marked “MAY BE HARMFUL TO THE CLAIMANT”.

The main body of the report should not make any reference to additional separate pages that are not to be disclosed to the claimant. The diagnosing psychiatrist must sign both the report and any additional pages.