The Ministry of Justice has instructed MedCo’s board to address behaviour by MROs that it says “undermines” the Government’s plans for soft tissue injury medical reporting.
In a statement released on 10 June, the MoJ identified two trends that need to be tackled by MedCo to ensure that it succeeds in “delivering greater independence whilst maintaining consumer choice”.
These are the establishment of smaller MROs by large national Tier 1 MROs as done by agencies such as Doctors Chambers and Speed Medical, and a network set up Qualitas Medical Assurance, a company which allows MROs to share instructions. The Government believes that the former trend “has the potential to put at risk the chances of existing MROs to compete for selection”, and that it runs contrary to MedCo’s objective of providing users with a range of seven different MROs to choose from.
The latter, it says, could subvert the rules on financial independence, as well as raising issues over choice and data handling.
“The system was neither designed nor intended to permit this type of behaviour,” read the statement, “but the Ministry of Justice is clear that MedCo, through the application of the qualifying criteria, its user agreements and ethics policy, has the requisite tools to address it.
In addition, the MoJ has said that an investigation is to be launched into MROs that may be overstating their capabilities in order to be registered as a Tier 1 agency.
“The Ministry will follow developments closely and will conduct a review, based on evidence, of how the new system is operating,” added the statement.
Litigation Futures reported that the statement was strongly criticised by Dr. David Pearce, the co-founder of Qualitas. He told Litigation Futures that his company was an ethical organisation that it “had no shares or other stake in any of the MROs using the system (except for one which is owned by Qualitas’s founders), and banned the payment of any commissions.”