Continuing the Government’s “reform” of the whiplash claims industry, the Ministry of Justice has announced the creation of an online portal, given the working title “MEDCO” which is to be the sole point of access for lawyers to obtain medical reports for whiplash claimants.
Experts with aspirations to be involved in the scheme will be required to achieve compulsory accreditation, once the portal is up and running.
Confirmation from the Government that the new portal will be created and funded by the Association of British Insurers has been met with further exasperation but little surprise on the part of the Claimant lobby, given the Government’s partisan approach to the ongoing reform of the Civil Justice System in England and Wales.
The MoJ claimed that they hope the new portal venture will help to sever financial links between law firms and medical reporting agencies, with law firms unable to instruct medics or agencies with whom they have financial ties.
In addition, further measures will be introduced to tackle fraudulent claims, with the insurance industry encouraged to share data with Claimant representatives and an obligation upon Claimant lawyers to check their client’s previous claim records.
The Ministry describes MEDCO as “a new independent IT hub”, though it is difficult to imagine how a system created and funded by those who will ultimately be paying whiplash victims compensation can ever be genuinely impartial.
No doubt with a view to trying to deflect the inevitable criticism, the MoJ says that they will be working to develop an “independent governance system” both for the online portal and the medics accreditation scheme.
No doubt the Claimant lobby will believe it when they see it.