What is the Medical Authority?
The Medical Authority is a panel of three experienced respiratory specialists. It includes an independent chairperson, an employer representative and a worker representative. The Medical Authority reviews information about your case to decide:
- Whether you have contracted a dust disease
- The extent to which you have been disabled by your dust disease
- Whether the dust disease and your disablement was as a result of exposure to dust from your employment in New South Wales
- Whether you are fit for any kind of alternative work
What Information does the Medical Authority look at to make its decision?
Dust Diseases can be described as either malignant or non-malignant. The kind of information requested by the Medical Authority will vary depending on whether or not you have a malignant or non-malignant disease.
A worker diagnosed with a malignant disease will already have recent x-rays, pathology results, lung function and spirometry test results and other supporting medical information from specialists. To enable the Board to request this information from your treating doctors the Board will send you four medical authority forms to complete (these forms can also be found on the forms page of this website). These forms enable the Board to contact any treating doctors who have had a role in diagnosing your disease and request that they forward to the Board any relevant information to assist with your claim. An Industrial History Officer will visit or phone you to help you complete all the relevant forms, including your application form and medical authority forms. At the same time, the Industrial History Officer will also compile an Industrial History which is a document that outlines all of your past employment and exposure to dust. Once the Board has received all of your relevant information, including clinical, pathological and your industrial history, it will be presented to the Medical Authority.
Workers with non-malignant diseases are usually diagnosed by their own doctor and may be required to attend the Board's premises for an independent medical examination. The medical examination consists of x-rays, a lung function and spirometry test and a consultation with one of the Board's Doctors. Workers who live in regional areas, Interstate or who are too ill to attend the Board's premises can attend a medical examination with a designated doctor in their area. The Medical Authority will then examine the results of your medical examination at their regular meeting. If the Medical Authority finds that you have a dust disease it will ask for an Industrial History to be prepared.