Summary of findings and recommendations

Summary of findings and recommendations


The Committee finds:

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends that the current restricted use of presumptive policy and the concentration on medical scientific research continue.

Recommendation 2

The Committee recommends that this type of data collection become an integral part of ADF and DVA assessment of deployed personnel, so that basic information is available for researchers on health status at return from deployment.

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that DVA and Defence ensure veterans are kept up to date about research on key issues and how these may have led to amendments in previous SOPs.

Current claims assessment

The Committee finds that:

Recommendation 4

The Committee recommends that:

In respect of recent deployments, the ADF ensure that a report on all likely exposures, records of potentially traumatising events, and statements as to injury and illness be available for all personnel. Updates should also be provided; and

In respect of earlier deployments, DVA continue with its practice of reconstruction of evidence, ensuring that all appropriate methodologies are utilised including those from new research.

Recommendation 5

The Committee recommends that:

With respect to future deployments, a protocol be established to ensure complete and accurate copies of medical records are provided; and

With respect to relevant past deployments, DVA establish the location of medical data and records and identify the most effective way of obtaining copies of these.

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that the ADF and DVA work together to ensure that all relevant information, including that on illness, research and the impact of legislative change, is provided in a straightforward style and a userfriendly format. In particular, information provided on RMA Statements of Principle (SOPs) should use everyday terminology and provide links to specific SOPs.

Defence Health Administration

The Committee finds that:

Recommendation 7

The Committee recommends that the Links Program continue in order to ensure effective rationalisation of service provision and co-ordination of medical research by the ADF and DVA.

Recommendation 8

The Committee recommends that detailed briefings on health issues be provided as much as possible in advance of deployment and that this information also be available in written format, for use on deployment and also for files. Updates must be communicated as soon as possible and centrally stored on computer based information systems as accessed by the ex service community.

Recommendation 9

The Committee recommends that a more effective electronic system of current health status be developed, allowing health service personnel to determine needs quickly pre-deployment and also providing opportunity for individuals to check their records and ensure these are accurate and complete.

Recommendation 10

The Committee recommends that all briefings and assessments on potential deployment psychological issues must be developed or cleared by a psychiatrist with relevant experience.

Recommendation 11

The Committee recommends that priority be given to ensuring that accurate records are maintained of all post deployment briefings, checks and assessments, and that individuals be able to access these records.

Recommendation 12

The Committee notes and commends the improvements made in health status and data collection of deployable forces, and recommends that this continue to be a priority.

Recommendation 13

The Committee recommends that terminology be clarified to ensure personnel are aware of the status of medical officers and medical personnel. Information on the level of medical officers on deployment should be part of predeployment briefings. Records of medical services provided by other forces must include information on the treating doctors so that any required follow up can be facilitated.


Recommendation 14

The Committee recommends that all information in manuals be checked against other data provided to ensure consistency.

Recommendation 15

The Committee recommends that personnel be made fully aware of potential problems with their health records and provided with the opportunity to obtain a copy of these well before discharge with a view to identifying and rectifying information gaps.

Recommendation 16

The Committee recommends that some form of electronic copy be made of health records of current personnel, both to facilitate their access to services if required and also to supplement HealthKEYS when this becomes operative. A copy of such information should also be held by Defence with ready access by DVA if required.


The Committee finds that:

Senator Steve Hutchins