The Public Health Unit processes the appointment of Medical Referees, maintains the register of Medical Referees on behalf of NSW Health, and regularly updates the information in consultation with the Medical Council of NSW and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA).
A Medical Referee is a registered medical practitioner who has been specifically appointed by the NSW Ministry of Health to provide independent medical advice that determines if there is a need to further examine the remains of a deceased person prior to cremation.
Medical practitioners can apply if they:
- Have held a medical registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
- Have been practising for three of the last five years
- Do not have any Conditions attached to their registration
Under the Public Health Regulation 2022, there are a number of procedures related to any cremation in NSW that can only be completed by a Medical Referee. The main task of a Medical Referee is to approve or decline an Application for a Permit to Cremate. They must be satisfied that the cause of death has been correctly identified in the death certificate and that cremation is not contrary to a written direction of the deceased.
Other responsibilities of Medical Referees can be found under Clause 106 and Clause 107 of the Public Health Regulation 2022.
The procedure and application to appoint a Medical Reference is available online.
No. Once appointed, the medical practitioner can continue to be a Medical Referee until such time as they cease to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) as practising, or have Conditions (subject to review) attached to their registration.
Appointed Medical Referees are asked to immediately notify the Public Health Unit of any changes in address, retirement, change in registration status or other relevant details. Failure to notify could result in deletion from the register.
For guidance on applying to be a medical referee or further information about the role, please refer to the following guidelines.
Below are links to agencies and other organisations that contain useful information: