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The Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA) and Specialist Medical Review Council (SMRC) are independent statutory bodies. They are made up of expert medical specialists. A statutory body is an organisation created by Parliament and given the authority to make decisions and look at evidence on a particular topic.

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What the RMA does

The RMA makes and reviews Statements of Principles (SOPs). Veterans and certain other groups can request that the RMA amend SOPs or create a new SOP if there is medical and scientific evidence to support this.

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What the SMRC does

The SMRC can review the RMA’s decisions not to make or amend SOPs. The SMRC does this where someone requests a SMRC review.

People can only request reviews if they are eligible to do so. The SMRC website provides more information on who can request a review and how they can request one.

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What SOPs are

SOPs describe medical conditions and the things that cause them. SOPs only include causes that the RMA has decided have enough sound evidence to back them up.

We use them to determine if there is a link between a veteran’s service and a medical condition the veteran has, by assessing whether a veteran’s service has met a cause in the SOP. The law says that we have to use them for every condition where a SOP has been made. We don’t have to use a SOP if one hasn’t been made for the claimed medical condition. We also don’t have to use one if the claim comes under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-Related Claims) Act 1988.

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Making SOPs

The RMA and SMRC’s roles are complex. They have to take into account laws as well as scientific and epidemiological principles when they make SOPs.

They also make 2 separate SOPs for each medical condition. This is because of different standards the law places on the evidence needed for claims relating to different types of service. For each condition, the RMA and SMRC must consider the evidence against each of these 2 standards and make a SOP for each one. A more generous standard applies to service in operational or wartime conditions.

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More information

Read more about who the RMA and SMRC are, what they do and how they make their decisions:

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