The Government has decided to review MedCo, the whiplash medical report portal, with immediate effect, following a catalogue of complaints over both how the system has disrupted the medico-legal world and how it has been manipulated by medical reporting organisations (MROs). A review was originally planned to take place in October.
In a written statement to the House of Commons, Lord Faulks, the Minister of State for Civil Justice, said that a review was to be conducted immediately as “issues relating to a number of new business practices within the sector “ had emerged which had “the potential to undermine the Government’s policy objectives and public confidence in the MedCo portal”.
Faulks was not clear as to what these issues may be. However, there has been widespread concern about MROs submitting multiple shell companies for inclusion on the portal, while MROs have themselves looked to take legal action against the Government for breaking competition law rules.
MedCo makes sure that solicitors are no longer able to obtain a report from an organisation with whom they have a financial link, whilst maintaining competition in the market by allocating solicitors with random MROs or direct medical experts every time they look to source a medical report.
A Judicial Review has been sought against the Government’s decision to launch the portal by one large MRO.
“I invite all stakeholders in the personal injury sector to participate in the public call for evidence which will form a key part of the review process,” said Faulks in the statement.
“The review will specifically seek evidence on whether the MedCo IT Portal meets the Government’s objectives, and the evidence provided will be analysed to identify whether changes need to be made to the portal or to the framework of rules underpinning it in order to achieve those objectives. The Government seeks views from stakeholders across the medico-legal reporting services sector in respect of whiplash claims, including representatives from the claimant lawyer, medical and insurance sectors. A report with recommendations for action – if required – will be published in the autumn.”