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4.5 Medical Connections to Service
In this chapter
This chapter outlines how Statements of Principles (SoPs) are made and used to connect particular injuries, diseases or deaths to service. It outlines the role of the Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA) and the Specialist Medical Review Council (SMRC) in investigating and reviewing SoPs.
Medical Connections to Service
Statement of Principles means:
- a Statement of Principles determined by the RMA under section 196B of the VEA; or
- a determination made by the Repatriation Commission under section 180A of the VEA; or
- a Statement of Principles concerning a particular kind of injury or disease made available to the VRB by the Repatriation Commission under paragraph 138(2)(a) of the VEA.
According to subsection 5D(1), an injury means any physical or mental injury (including the recurrence of a physical or mental injury) but does not include:
- a disease, or
- the aggravation of a physical or mental injury.
According to subsection 5D(1), disease means:
- any physical or mental ailment, disorder, defect or morbid condition (whether of sudden onset or gradual development), or
- the recurrence of such an ailment, disorder, defect or morbid condition,
but does not include:
- the aggravation of such an ailment, disorder, defect or morbid condition, or
- a temporary departure from:
the normal physiological state, or
the accepted ranges of physiological or biochemical measures,
that results from normal physiological stress (for example, the effect of exercise on blood pressure) or the temporary effect of extraneous agents (for example, alcohol on blood cholesterol levels).
The RMA is a panel of five medical and scientific experts appointed by the Minister for Veterans' Affairs after consultation with the ex-service and veteran community.
The role of the RMA is:
- to determine whether there is sound medical-scientific evidence that links particular kinds of injury, disease or death with war or defence service; and
- to reflect the causal links in legally binding Statement of Principles (SoPs).
The SMRC is an independent statutory body that is able to review the decisions the Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA) makes about Statement of Principles (SoPs). The SMRC will consider all of the material that was available to the RMA and any material that the review applicant wants to make available. There are no legal questions decided by the SMRC and no lawyers may address the SMRC. The SMRC decides whether it would have made a different decision than the RMA on the basis of the same sound medical-scientific evidence. Refer to sections 196V and 196W.