Medical Assessments

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Table of Contents:

The Medical Review and Assessment (MRA) System
Medical Staff
Medical Assessors Qualifications
The Assessment

The Medical Review and Assessment (MRA) System

The Medical Review and Assessment (MRA) system is the principal control mechanism of the illness and disability-related schemes administered by the Department. Medical Assessors carry out medical assessments of clients in order to provide an independent medical opinion with regard to eligibility on medical grounds to various illness and disability-related benefits/allowances and to assess the loss of faculty resulting from an occupational injury or disease, for the guidance of Deciding Officers.

See separate guideline " Medical Review" also on the Medical Review and Assessment Process.

Medical Staff

The Department's medical staff consists of a Chief Medical Adviser, Deputy Chief Medical Adviser, and a team of Medical Assessors who carry out the medical assessments.

Medical Assessors Qualifications

Medical Assessors are fully qualified and experienced practitioners who provide a second opinion to that of the person's own doctor for the guidance of the Department's Deciding Officers. Their assessments conform to the ethical conduct and behaviour guidelines of the Medical Council. Medical Assessors are required to be medical practitioners who are on the general register of medical practitioners while holding an appointment.

They must have at least three years satisfactory experience in the practice of medicine since registration. Many of the Medical Assessors have specialist post-graduate qualifications and all have received training in disability evaluation and the operation of the Department's schemes. The Medical Assessors have an ongoing commitment to continuing medical education to ensure that standards are maintained and enhanced.

Medical Assessors may not engage in private practice or be connected with any outside business, which would interfere with the performance of official duties.

The Assessment

Every effort is made to ensure that the interests of persons called for assessment are fully safeguarded. Their own certifiers may be contacted in advance of a medical assessment and invited to submit an appropriate medical report including references to any recent Consultant assessments. In addition it is open to a certifier to attend an assessment if he or she so wishes. A Nurse Attendant is always present during assessments.

In carrying out assessments the Medical Assessor reviews any medical evidence available, e.g. GP/specialist reports, results of investigations, and expresses an opinion based on findings.

When conducting an assessment the Medical Assessor does not dispute the existence of the certified cause of incapacity but rather s/he assesses the degree to which the loss of function in work-related activities resulting from the disease or injury affects the person's ability to perform either their own job or alternative types of work.

The Medical Assessor carries out the assessment in accordance with evidence based medical protocols and guidelines

Role of Medical Advisers Vs Treating Physicians

The role of the Medical Assessor differs fundamentally from that of the traditional treating physician, GP/Specialist.

The treating physician's role is to investigate, diagnose, treat and give advice to patients regarding their medical condition.

The Medical Assessor's role is to assess how the medical condition which has been diagnosed adversely affects the person with reference to their activities of daily living, work related activities and resultant care needs. The Medical Assessor considers the severity of the condition, its expected duration and resultant care needs and gives an opinion as to whether or not the person satisfies the medical criteria of eligibility for whichever illness-related scheme is being applied for.

The Medical Assessor does not involve him/herself in treating medical conditions or giving advice regarding their management.

The Medical Assessor does not involve himself/herself in patient advice or treatment.

Assessments are conducted
  • in a fair, equitable, impartial and independent manner
  • to the highest standards in accordance with accepted medical practice and ethics
  • in a manner which ensures that, when expressing opinions, full account is taken of any/all medical evidence submitted
  • in a manner which displays full regard for the dignity and integrity of the person being assessed.
Last modified:08/09/2016

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