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Remote examinations to end for whiplash cases

By John Hyde >>

(21 April 2022)

The scheme for diagnosing whiplash injuries in RTA claims is to restore its ban on remote examinations from this summer. The restriction had been suspended by MedCo during the pandemic to allow injured people to be assessed through virtual appointments.

But in light of the government’s ending of Covid-19 rules, all examinations that take place on or after 1 July must be in person. 

Martin Heskins, executive chair of MedCo, said ‘It has always been MedCo’s policy to prohibit medical examinations by remote methods. This is stipulated in our rules, which all operational experts agree to. When this prohibition was suspended in 2020 it was made clear that the change was temporary. At a recent meeting the MedCo board unanimously agreed that the ban on remote examinations should be reinstated.’

MedCo noted that a small group of claimants may still be required to isolate as a result of Covid-19. In circumstances where the claimant remains vulnerable, there may be provision for them to have a remote examination.

Experts will be required, if carrying out a remote examination because the claimant is vulnerable due to Covid-19, to record in their report the nature of the claimant’s vulnerability and why that has resulted in the examination being carried out remotely.

Remote examinations were banned to reduce the risk of fraud and to ensure that doctors did not mis-diagnose claimants with more serious injuries. 

Claimant lawyers raised concerns during the pandemic about the potential for insurers to challenge medical reports because examinations were not carried out in person.

The MedCo board is made up of representatives of the defendant and claimant sectors, as well as the British Medical Association and Law Society.

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)