The Medical Council's Guidelines for Non-Treating Doctors Performing Medical Assessments of Patients for Third Parties

July 2003
These guidelines have now been introduced by the Medical Council and are extremely important. Many thanks to those of you who sent submissions to the Medical Council. Some of our recommendations were taken note of and included.

Some points which we have noted about the final document are as follows:

  • Point 4. If a conflict of interest exists, then the doctor is required to decline to see you.

  • Point 6. The doctor is not there to treat you. He/she is there solely to assess your condition.

  • Point 8. The patient must be treated with respect, free from coercion, harassment, discrimination. This means that you cannot be discriminated against on the grounds of gender, class, race etc. Also, if you do not give your informed consent, the appointment cannot go ahead (Point 9). However, remember that ACC law requires that you do give consent for them to obtain NECESSARY information. Never give consent which totally disempowers you. For example, you can write on the consent that informed consent must be obtained from you before your case manager contacts every third party, on a case by case basis.

  • Point 9. Copies of reports will need to be requested from the Third Party eg ACC.

  • Point 10. You must ask ACC (or other "Third Party" eg AON or an employer) to ask the doctor PRIOR to your appointment, if you wish to tape your appointment with them. It is recommended by the Medical Council that the Third Party find a doctor who will allow you to tape your appointment as you request.

  • Point 11. The assessing doctor is NOT to speculate. Nor can he/she base recommendations on insufficient or flawed evidence.

  • Point 13. Any recommendations must NOT compromise the patient's safety. The Medical Council makes some very stern statements under this point. (At last!!)

  • Point 21. A reminder to doctors that financial interests are not to bias their view. (What does that say about how some doctors have been behaving?)

  • Point 22. You must direct any comments on the assessing doctor's report to the Third Party (eg ACC), not the doctor. This is something we do not agree with, especially as the Health and Disability Commission has repeatedly refused to help people like us whenever we have approached them.

Unfortunately, the Medical Council has NOT eliminated "file review" (see Points 3, 5, 19 and 20). This means that doctors can make a diagnosis for the "Third Party" without seeing the patient. A travesty of justice, in our view, although Point 20 makes it clear that such "blind" file reviews cannot be done lightly.


Go here for the pdf document.

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