Policy & Procedure

On rare occasions, delegates may become aware from medical assessment reports that the client has a serious psychiatric illness or a physical complaint which renders them a danger to themselves or others.

Where public safety is obviously an issue, care must be taken as privacy provisions still apply. The delegate obtained the information for a specific purpose, ie the assessment of the claimant's compensation claim, and so cannot release information to anyone for any other purpose except as provided at 6.2.1 [22].  The medical practitioner has a duty of care to act on any implications stemming from their report.  If concerned, the delegate should contact the medical practitioner and ascertain what steps are being taken or, if not, the reasons behind that decision.

Essentially, delegates have no right to breach a claimant's privacy.  Even when aware that – for example – a serving member is to be deployed overseas with a concealed injury which is likely to make that person less effective, the delegate may not disclose this.  In most cases the ADF will be aware of such an injury, because of the requirement (see 6.2.1 [23]) to provide a copy of claims to the ADF and because the ADF health service has its own resources for testing the readiness of members.  However, it is possible that in the course of investigating a claim, information about other medical conditions will become available.  This information should not be released to Defence.

If delegates are in any doubt about these situations, they should discuss the matter with Team Leaders or with Policy Support Branch.