Doctors put pressure on CJC to resolve issues in personal injury claims

The Civil Justice Council (CJC) is to hold a 'big tent' meeting towards the end of the year to debate issues surrounding the provision of medical reports.

This follows calls from the British Medical Association (BMA) for an overhaul of the medico-legal reporting industry. The CJC has been in discussions with the Association of Medical Reporting Organisations (AMRO) to look at ways of streamlining the production of medical reports for low-cost personal injury claims.

BMA medico-legal committee chairman Dr Michael Wilks said there was "some concern" among GPs about AMRO's proposals that GPs rather than specialists should be the first port of call for reports, and that a patient's medical history should not be sought, in order to reduce costs.

Wilks said: "Efforts to streamline personal injury claims should not result in a lowering in standards of medico-legal reports."

A source said doctors were also concerned about rates of pay for medical reports. Wilks said: "There is a concern about fixed costs because it can compromise the quality of the expert." But he added that costs were "only an issue if there was pressure on the expert to do less than a full and competent job".

As revealed exclusively in Insurance Times last month, Norwich Union is currently piloting a scheme to fix the cost of medical reports for minor road accident claims.

Zurich and Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance are understood to be considering similar schemes.

The decision to hold a wider discussion came after a forum held by the BMA last week, attended by doctors, medico-legal agencies, CJC and Department of Constitutional Affairs officials, lawyers and insurers.

Wilks said the 'big tent' would address issues such as the type of expert required for different sorts of cases, and ways in which those commissioning experts can ensure they are fit for purpose.