May 9, 2014

No sooner have right thinking people up and down the land come together as one to welcome government plans to create medical panels to reject whiplash claims, than Minister for Civil Justice and Legal Policy Lord Forks goes and spoils it – in a newly published consultation paper – by proposing that insurers should be banned from requesting reports from medical reporting companies in which they have a financial stake.

Has he never heard of synergy? Does he not appreciate how absurdly complicated it will be for insurers to have to keep remembering to use some other insurer’s medico legal firm instead of their own? Is he blind to the competitive tensions and conflicts such an artificially complex arrangement will create?

Is he really serious about abolishing whiplash?

As if that weren’t bad enough, there’s also talk of capping the proportion of reports insurers can request from a single medical reporting firm. Surely all this does is waste insurers’ time briefing multiple companies on what to say.

Fixed fees of £180 per GP’s or Physiotherapist’s report or £420 per consultant’s report (regardless of what they say) also sound unhelpfully restrictive – with no obvious scope for rewarding healthy skepticism.

Let’s just hope the consultation process (ending 28 May) will show Lord Forks the error of his ways and bring some much needed sanity to this latest (sadly fainthearted) front in the War on Whiplash (WoW).

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