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20.19.2 Incapacity soon after discharge - adequacy of medical opinion

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Delegates should be particularly vigilant where an alleged incapacity occurs quite soon after a voluntary discharge, particularly in cases where the client has remained unemployed since that discharge. The closer the alleged incapacity is to the date of discharge, the smaller the interval over which any alleged deterioration or aggravation has been operating (and the more likely the client is unemployed rather than incapacitated). Delegates should also note that a GP certifying incapacity soon after discharge and estimating work capacity only on the basis of observed impairment, has no access to ADF medical record to illuminate the degree to which these observed impairments affected work capacity in the recent past.

Therefore, it is recommended that prompt assertions of incapacity – i.e. those following soon after voluntary discharge – should not be decided on the basis of a GP certificate but should be referred to a relevant specialist (preferably an Occupational Physician) for an opinion on work capacity. The specialist should not only examine the client, but be provided with a copy of the relevant sections of the client's ADF medical record, i.e. to guide that medical examination.