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15. Seeking a second opinion -

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If the initial psychiatrist:

  • refuses to provide a report that addresses conflicting historical evidence; or,
  • produces a subsequent report which still does not meet the diagnostic criteria, or
  • refuses to provide a report that satisfactorily explains a significant deterioration,

then a second opinion may be sought from a psychiatrist on the second opinion list for each State, or from another State that has psychiatrists willing to do video conferencing.

The second opinion psychiatrist should be sent:

  • a copy of the report/s (and assessment, if this is in question) from the first psychiatrist;
  • a copy of the diagnosis check-sheet relating to the first report, if this is in question; and
  • a copy of the first part of this paper, the Diagnostic and Assessment Guidelines, and Guidelines for Expert Witnesses in Proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia at
    http://www.fedcourt.gov.au/how/practice_notes_cm7.html.

The referral letter should clearly state why the second report is being sought (ie, that you are not able to confirm a diagnosis of PTSD; or that the traumatic event identified by the claimant conflicts with known facts; or that the claimed deterioration of the condition has not been satisfactorily explained; or that the first psychiatrist refused to address the conflicting evidence). Before requesting the second opinion, the claims assessor must advise the claimant and the representative (if applicable) of the intention to do so.