Ministry had planned to review portal six months after launch
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has started its review of whiplash medical reporting portal MedCo early because of concerns that some medical reportiong organisations (MROs) are gaming the system.
The news of the early review follows a vow from the MoJ in June to crack down on MROs that were trying to get around the new portal’s rules.
The MoJ had intended to review the portal, which is designed to reduce the number of spurious whiplash claims by registering the organisations that supply medical reports, six months after its launch on 6 April 2015.
But the ministry revealed yesterday that it had launched a public call for evidence about the new portal.
The ministry said: “Since [MedCo] went live on 6 April 2015, issues relating to the behaviours of organisations within this sector have emerged which have the potential to undermine the Government’s policy objectives and public confidence in the MedCo portal.
“Therefore, the Government is bringing its planned review forward and all stakeholders in the personal injury sector are invited to participate in a public call for evidence.”
The MoJ said the review will seek evidence about whether the portal meets the government’s objectives. It will analyse responses to determine whether changes need to be made to the portal or the rules underpinning it.
In June the MoJ said it would take action on medical reporting firms trying to circumvent the portal’s new rules. It said at the time that it had seen examples of large medical reporting firms registering a number of new smaller ones to give themselves a higher chance of being selected.
The ABI has welcomed the review. ABI general insurance manager Rob Cummings said: “The ABI welcomes the Ministry of Justice’s call for evidence on MedCo.
“As the MoJ have previously made clear, the unanticipated gaming behaviour of some organisations within the system has had the effect of undermining the policy objectives of MedCo. Potential changes to the system that limit these kinds of behaviour and help produce better outcomes for claimants need to be explored.
“The insurance industry remains committed to ensuring the effective operation of MedCo and working with Government and wider stakeholders to help achieve the overall policy objective of tackling the compensation culture.”