The Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA) and Specialist Medical Review Council (SMRC) are statutory bodies made up of eminent medical specialists. The RMA is responsible for the making and review of Statements of Principles (SOPs) in relation to types of injuries and diseases, which are applied by decision-makers when determining claims for compensation under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004. The SMRC provides an appeal mechanism by which entitled parties may request a review of a decisions by the RMA not to make or amend SOPs.
The RMA and SMRC operate within a complex framework which requires them to apply epidemiological principles in considering the available sound medical-scientific evidence that may be relevant to a given SOP. In addition, two separate SOPs are made for a type of injury or disease. One SOP applies to service under operational or wartime conditions, while the other, broadly, relates to service under peacetime conditions. The RMA and SMRC apply a more generous standard of proof to the medical-scientific evidence when making the SOP which applies to service on operations (the so-called ‘reasonable hypothesis’ standard) than is used when making the SOP which applies to other service (the ‘balance of probabilities’ standard).
In order to assist the veteran community in understanding the methodology applied by the RMA and the SMRC in undertaking their work, both organisations have published on their respective websites the guidance materials issued to RMA members and SMRC councillors. Links to these documents are provided below: