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Not sure what PEER is and how you should use it? We've put together frequently asked questions (FAQs) for health services and applicants to help you navigate our new platform.

Why PEER?

As recommended in the Targeting zero report all health services should have at least one independent panel member on their serious or sentinel event review panels.

Independent panel members provide a fresh pair of eyes and an objective view from outside the health service in which the event occurred.

What is PEER?

PEER (panel of external expert reviewers) will make it easier to find a suitable independent panel member by providing a database of searchable profiles.

PEER is an online platform with profiles of healthcare professionals, quality and safety professionals and consumers who hold a formal position at a Victorian public or private health service. Individuals are available to perform the role of independent panel member on serious or sentinel event reviews. 

What is PEER used for?

Individuals can publish their profile and therefore register their interest to participate as an independent panel member on a serious or sentinel event review.

Health services can browse the listed profiles to find a suitable independent panel member and then contact the individual using contact details provided.

What is the role of Safer Care Victoria in relation to the PEER platform?

We make the website available to help health services find a suitable independent panel member for a serious or sentinel event review and to help individuals to register their interest to participate as an independent panel member in reviews.

SCV is not involved in the engagement, that is between the health service and independent panel member. Independent panel members are not employees, agents, representatives or partners of SCV. The presence or absence of any individual’s profile on the website does not reflect SCV’s opinion on the suitability of qualifications of any potential independent panel member. 

FAQs for health services

How do I start using the PEER platform?

After reading and accepting the disclaimer and terms of use you can browse the profiles on the PEER platform and make contact with a potential independent panel member who meets your requirements in terms of location, discipline and/or expertise. Contact details are available on their profile.

Once I have made contact, what is the next step?

Once you have located and contacted a potential independent panel member that meets your requirements it is important to:

  • conduct any interviews or background checks needed to verify the suitability of the independent panel member
  • confirm that the independent panel member has no conflict of interest that rules them out as independent.
How can I tell if the independent panel member has a conflict of interest?

The profile of a potential independent panel member on the PEER platform will provide an initial overview of previous employers or working relationships that may impact perceived or actual independence.

When contacting the potential independent panel member it is important to verify whether there could be any other perceived or actual conflicts of interest.

How do we organise for the independent panel member to be part of the team?

Ensure the independent panel member signs a confidentiality agreement supplied by your health service.

Negotiate and plan suitable meeting times for the review to occur.  For example, RCA reviews may require multiple meetings at 1-2 week intervals. 

What is the role of the independent panel member in a review?

The independent panel member provides an independent voice in the room. They offer a fresh pair of eyes and an objective voice from outside the health service in which the event occurred.

The independent panel member participates as a full member of the review team and will provide input to all parts of the process. 

They are not intended to be the panel facilitator, or lead. Nor can they provide advice beyond that expected of any panel member or undertake functions that are not within the scope of a serious or sentinel event review.

Can I approach more than one independent panel member to take part in my review?

Yes, more than one potential independent panel member may be approached to find someone that is suitable and available.

Please respect their time and effort in trying to respond to your request and let them know you are approaching multiple independent panel members. Once you select an independent panel member, inform the others you contacted so they know they are no longer required to respond.  

Can I approach an SCV Academy member to be my independent panel member?

The SCV Academy are employees of SCV and an internal resource for SCV. They will undertake complex incident reviews and safety systems reviews commissioned by SCV. They will also provide feedback and advice to Victorian health services on incident response and developing more effective, systems based approaches to improving patient safety.

While acting as an independent panel member is not part of the SCV Academy core roles and responsibilities, at times SCV may commission an Academy member to be an independent panel member but that is at SCV's discretion and this will be assessed on a case by case basis using criteria such as expertise and review capability required and case complexity.

Do I have to use the same independent panel member for each review?

No, there is no requirement to engage the same independent panel member for each review your health service undertakes.

In fact, it is good practice to assess for each review what type of independent panel member would make a good member of your review team.

What if the independent panel member is unable to travel to our health service?

There are great benefits by having the independent panel member present in person as this encourages active participation, face to face discussions and review of physical evidence.

We acknowledge that it is not always possible and at times you may have to arrange for an independent panel member to join the meeting using secure teleconference facilities.

What if our health service has a bad experience with an individual sourced on the peer platform?

We encourage any challenges or disputes to be discussed with the independent panel member directly.

If challenges or disputes cannot be resolved between the independent panel member and the health service, the independent panel member’s employer should be contacted. If required, concerns can be escalated to SCV at reviewpanelmembers@safercare.vic.gov.au

What if there is no-one on the PEER platform that is suitable for the review we need to undertake?

PEER is a service available to help health services connect with a wide range of potential independent panel members. Independent panel members for serious or sentinel event reviews do not have to be sourced using the PEER platform. Health services can connect with independent panel members through their own networks.

If health services are struggling to find a particular independent panel member and have exhausted their own network and the PEER platform they can contact SCV for assistance at reviewpanelmembers@safercare.vic.gov.au.

FAQs for applicants

Who should apply to be an independent panel member?

Healthcare professionals - including nursing, midwifery, medical, allied health - and quality and safety professionals or consumers who:

  • hold a formal position at a Victorian public or private health service
  • would like to fulfil the role of independent panel member at another health service
  • have skills and knowledge that will help them perform the role of independent panel member
  • have written approval of their employer (using our referee and approval form) to fulfil the role of independent panel member at another health service as part of their substantive role.
When do applications close?

The PEER platform is an ongoing initiative. Registrations can be submitted at any time and profiles will be uploaded periodically.

At times we may close registrations for maintenance , business reasons, or if we decide to terminate or suspend the service. 

I am a little busy right now, can I register later when I have more time available?

If you are interested in becoming an independent panel member but do not currently have the availability to fulfil this role we encourage you to register your interest when your circumstances change.

Similarly, if you have registered but you realise you are not available for a period of time you can inform SCV by emailing reviewpanelmembers@safercare.vic.gov.au and we will hide your profile until you let us know that you are available again.

Can I apply as a consumer if I don’t have a formal position with a Victorian public or private health service?

For insurance purposes, consumers need to have a formal engagement with a health service to be eligible. This is in place to protect all potential independent panel members.

What if I do not want my contact details published?

Health services use the platform to search for potential independent panel members. Contact details allow health services to contact potential independent panel members directly to verify suitability and availability. The publication of email and phone number is therefore a requirement for anyone who wishes to be listed on the PEER platform.

What if I have a profile on the PEER platform and change employment?

If you are listed on the PEER platform and change you primary employment you need to inform SCV of this change at reviewpanelmembers@safercare.vic.gov.au.

Your profile may be temporarily hidden until your details are updated and you have submitted a reference and approval form signed by your new employer.

This will help ensure profiles are accurate and that health services can assess the suitability of all potential independent panel members and contact individuals using the information provided.

It is also important that your new employer supports you performing the role of independent panel member as part of your substantive role (for example, for insurance purposes).

What is a certificate of currency?

A Certificate of Currency is a document confirming the currency of your insurance and outlining the conditions of cover that includes performing the role of an independent panel member. You should discuss your insurance requirements with your Medical Defence Organisation or equivalent insurer prior to obtaining your certificate of currency. This is relevant for privately practising individuals and those working for private health services. You do not require a certificate of currency if your substantial employer supporting your application is a Victorian public health service.

Am I insured for the work as an independent panel member?

The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) provides insurance and risk advice to the Victorian Government. They have put together a document that provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about insurance arrangements.

This information can be found on the VMIA website.

Can I request a fee from the health service if they contact me?

We encourage engagements to be on a cost neutral basis (no extra payments are made for the services and the work is done as part of the independent panel member’s regular hours at their employer). The employer supports this through the referee and approval form.

If additional payment is negotiated, it is the independent panel member’s responsibility to check with their employer and insurer(s) whether this may impact their insurance cover for this work.

If consumers have a formal engagement but do so on a volunteer basis it might be appropriate to discuss reimbursement of expenses and a sitting fee for a consumer representative. If a sitting fee is negotiated it is the independent panel member’s responsibility to check with their employing health service whether this has an impact on insurance cover for this work.

Who is paying for my travel expenses?

Reimbursement of reasonable meal and travel expenses should be agreed between the health service conducting the review and the independent panel member before the review commences.

In most instances it is envisioned that the health service that is doing the review and is requesting an independent panel member will cover such expenses.

What if I have a bad experience at a health service?

We encourage any challenges or disputes to be discussed with the health service.

If challenges or disputes cannot be resolved between the independent panel member and the health service, the independent panel member’s employer should be contacted. If required, concerns can be escalated to SCV at reviewpanelmembers@safercare.vic.gov.au

What if I no longer want to be listed on the PEER platform?

Simply contact SCV at reviewpanelmembers@safercare.vic.gov.au and we will remove your profile from the PEER platform.

Get in touch

Incident Response Team
Safer Care Victoria
03 9096 1546

Page last updated: 20 Nov 2018

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