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11.6.2 Content and completeness
The schedule of questions provided to the specialist with the standard letter of request, has space for brief text answers or explanations of the selected alternative responses.
Brief specialist reports confined to endorsements on the schedule of questions may sometimes be acceptable – at the discretion of the Delegate – in uncomplicated cases. However, it is not the preferred option. Delegates should expect that the specialist review the clinical history, outline the course of the examination and the tests undertaken, identify the significant issues and give reasons for the conclusions expressed against each of the questions on the schedule. This degree of detail is necessary for the Delegate to assess what weighting – i.e. what degree of credence – to give the opinion in the final assessment of liability. As noted above, the Delegate is not expected, in this context, to judge the correctness of the conclusions, but to form an opinion as to whether the doctor has exercised due care in arriving at those conclusions.
Where it is not obvious that, for example, a particular issue has been considered by the examining specialist, the Delegate should not hesitate to address further questions to that doctor or to ask for a more comprehensive explanation. Where this is not forthcoming, the opinion should be accorded a low weight in the liability assessment process.