GPs should reserve diagnosis for only most serious cases

The Guardian’s NHS docotor Dr Crippen writes that a conspiracy between GPs, poor medical science and vulnerable patients has generated a bogus industry for whiplash insurance claims.

He says onle one patient out of 427 who who visited him with whiplash claims had serious injuries. “Why did they even come to the doctor?” he ask.

But the Association of British Insurers says its members receive almost 1,200 claims of this type every day, worth a staggering £2bn a year. These "injuries" cost the NHS approximately £8m a year.

Poor science

In Whiplash and Other Useful Illnesses, Andrew Malleson, a Canadian psychiatrist, shows how an occult conspiracy between doctors, poor medical science and vulnerable patients has generated a bogus "whiplash" industry.

Malleson argues it is the doctors who are to blame. When we should be saying to people, "Well, yes, I am sure you have been a bit shaken up by the accident," our computers encourage us to enter "whiplash" on the patient's summary.

We need to stop doing that. We need to reserve the diagnosis "whiplash injury" for patients who have grade 4 and grade 5 problems.

Protect vulnerable people

“Above all, we need to protect vulnerable people from alternative quacktitioners who make a living out of conditions such as chronic whiplash and fibromyalgia, and will keep rubbing a patient until his wallet is empty,” Dr Crippen says.