(Carlow-Kilkenny): asked the Minister for Social Welfare the medical qualifications of his medical referees; and if he is satisfied that a cursory examination in a frugal office is adequate for people with serious medical complaints.
Written Answers. - Qualifications of Medical Referees.
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.
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.
It is open to a certifier to attend a medical referee examination if he or she so wishes or where the claimant is certified as being unable to attend for examination a domiciliary visit may be arranged.
The medical referee centres are suitably equipped for a full medical examination and in conjunction with all other improvements in my Department, these centres are constantly being reviewed and premises are being updated or renewed where necessary.
Detailed guidelines including details of the medical referee system are issued to all doctors who participate in the medical certification scheme. I am satisfied that the relevant guidelines are being fully complied with and that the medical referee system is operating in a fair and reasonable manner.