Doctors involved in the MedCo whiplash scheme have been warned to speed up the rate at which they upload diagnosis reports of soft-tissue injuries. 

In a notice published on the scheme’s website today, medical experts and reporting organisations were given a new six-month deadline from the date of being selected to examine a claimant to upload the report on the MedCo IT system.

The Gazette understands that numerous attempts have been made to remind practitioners, who are instructed by lawyers, to work more efficiently, but some continue to be slow.

MROs and medical experts are required to upload medical case data as part of the contributor agreement. A spokeswoman for MedCo said today that organisations and experts found to be in breach of the agreement may be subject to enforcement action.

‘One of the fundamental aims of the establishment of MedCo is to improve the standard of medical reporting, she added.

‘Alongside the training and accreditation of medical experts, MedCo reviews and analyses medical case data to monitor for quality consistency and identify any irregularities or trends that may require investigation.’

MedCo assured medics that the anonymised management information required to be uploaded for these reviews does not constitute personal data within the meaning the Data Protection Act 1998, and therefore no consent is required from the patient.

Delays in uploading reports will add more weight to the suggestion that many MROs and experts are not capable of producing the volume of work required.

The government is expected to change the rules this summer after MROs registered ‘shell’ companies to limit the choice of experts that could be instructed.

Following the changes, larger tier-one MROs will need 250 experts who are ‘active, MedCo-accredited’ and qualified to prepare initial whiplash reports.

Previously, companies were only required to have contractual arrangements with 250 experts, but there was no requirement that they had to be practising.

Tier-one MROs will be required to have a two-year trading history and have a minimum of five distinct clients, with no single client providing more than 40% of its work.

At the outset in April 2015, medical experts were required to pay a £150 annual registration fee, while MROs were split into two categories, paying a £15,000 or £75,000 annual fee accordingly per individual registration.