March 9, 2015

Regular readers will likely recall that insurers have told the Government to stop people claiming shedloads of undeserved cash by pretending to have something wrong with their necks.

New plans to limit the number of people empowered to express an opinion about whether or not anyone actually has the fictional condition known as whiplash are by no means the first nor the last battles in the so-called War on Whiplash (WoW), but could have a significant influence on the eventual outcome of the conflict.

The million or so people pretending to have whiplash every year in Britain currently waste countless hours of ordinary GPs’ time with their cervical cry-babyism. But in future GPs will have to look elsewhere for their pastimes, and anyone wanting to express an opinion on whiplash will have to prove their expertise by paying a fee.

Where claimants and their advisors currently run amok, seeking so-called expertise wherever they choose, in future they will be randomly allocated to one of just six soft tissue doctors (STDs) up and down the country, using a machine a bit like the balls-in-a-basket style contraption they have on the telly for the lottery.

Longer term, insurers hope the number of accredited STDs can be reduced further, ideally to zero, as claiming gets more complicated and difficult, the myth of whiplash withers on the vine of falseness, and people simply give up and go away.

The introduction of the new accreditation system, managed by a body known as MadCow, has been warmly welcomed by right minded lawyers everywhere, with Neville Ryan, ‘partner’ of Canterbury-based solicitor firm Furry Page, this week vigorously applauding the new rules because, he said, they “mean that only firms who, like us, who have registered with MedCo can participate.”

The Association of Bratish Insurers (AIB) has also welcomed the new system, which involves MedCon passing all requests to see a doctor about post-prang neck pain (PPNP) via a special electric porthole it has developed, arguing that this will deter bogus claimants.

Furry Page’s Ryan pointed to the “major strides” HMG has taken towards “cracking down” on freud, arguing that it’s great that from April this year “all medical reports will be fair, independent and transparent.” Although he introduces a minor caveat in noting that “the practicalities of using” the MedCop porthole “remain to be seen.”

An insignificant coterie of law firms, however, have said they are planning to apply for a judicial review of the proposals, arguing that nobody asked them what they’d like. A spokesman for the coterie this week warned that the changes would “impose severe restrictions” on the thousands of people making whiplash claims each week.

The Ministry of Juice (MoJo) appears implacable, however, insisting that it will continue “bearing down on fraud and abuses of the system,” so that decent stout-necked people won’t have to carry on paying inflated insurance premiums.

“Our reforms are turning the compensation culture on its head,” an MooJ statement explained, and “signalling our commitment to ending the era of questionable whiplash claims by making sure all medical reports are above suspicion.”

And let’s face it, if you want to position yourself anywhere in relation to suspicion, above would probably be the way to go. Below might be OK (data is sparse on this), but anywhere along the suspicion line, or even closely adjacent to it, would clearly not be good.

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