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8.8.4 Medical board
Section 57(1) of the 1971 Act provided that a medical board was to consist of two medical practitioners:, one appointed by the Commissioner and one by the employee (more than two medical practitioners could be appointed at the discretion of the Commissioner). In contrast, however, S57(1) of the SRCA provides that Defence 'may require the employee to undergo an examination by one legally qualified medical practitioner nominated by' Defence.
After 22 June 1992, decisions under S41 of the 1971 Act are made by one legally qualified medical practitioner (a 'medical referee') appointed under S57 of the SRCA, in compliance with S57(1) which prohibits the use of medical panels.
Comcare Operational Advice 97/020 discussed the use of a single medical referee:
Use of Sections 41 and 42 of the 1971 Act
31 An issue with the Court's decision in Bozicevic is the requirement under the 1971 Act that calculation for Sections 41 and 42 be carried out by a medical board. Section 57 of the SRCA has been amended to preclude the use of medical boards.
32 However Section 57(1) of the 1971 Act gives the Commissioner (now Comcare) the power to nominate a panel of medical referees or a single referee. Consequently it is possible for Comcare to perform an assessment pursuant to Sections 41 and 42 of the 1971 Act without contravening the requirements of Section 57 of the SRCA, by using a single medical referee rather than a panel.