Dáil Éireann - Volume 389 - 27 April, 1989
Written Answers. - Medical Referees.
Mr. Farrelly Mr. Farrelly
 30. Mr. Farrelly asked the Minister for Social Welfare the qualifications held by the referee doctors carrying out examinations on recipients of disability benefit and sick benefit in connection with their ability for work; if he has satisfied himself that the examinations being carried out are to an acceptable standard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods) Michael J. Woods
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Medical referees are qualified medical practitioners. They are recruited by the Civil Service Commission and a condition of their appointment is that they must have at least six years experience in general medical practice.
Detailed guidelines are issued by the Department to all doctors who participate in the medical certification scheme. The guidelines include full information on assessing and deciding incapacity for work as well as details of the medical referee system. The guidelines also govern medical referees in carrying out examinations of claimants and review of their claims.
Every effort is made to ensure that the interests of persons referred for medical referee examination are fully safeguarded.
Their own certifiers are advised of the forthcoming examinations and invited to submit an appropriate medical report including references to any recent consultant examinations. In addition it is open to a certifier to attend a medical referee examination if he or she so wishes.
In carrying out medical examinations medical referees conform to the ethical conduct and behaviour guidelines of the Medical Council. All examinations are carried out in the presence of the official nurse and all reports of examinations are submitted to my Department's medical adviser.
I am satisfied that the medical referee examinations being carried out are to an acceptable standard and that the relevant guidelines are being complied with.
Dáil Éireann 389 Written Answers. Medical Referees.