The scheme to ensure the independent diagnosis of whiplash injuries has suspended 134 ‘shell’ companies apparently set up to game the system. 

MedCo took the action yesterday after the deadline passed for medical reporting organisations (MROs) to meet new qualifying criteria.

The MedCo scheme, introduced by former justice secretary Chris Grayling to sever links between lawyers and the medics they instruct, has been plagued by problems since it was created.

Most notable of these problems has been MROs creating dozens of extra companies to ensure they come up more often in the random searches, which give lawyers a choice of one top-tier and six second-tier providers.

Under the new rules, all aspiring MROs must provide documented assurances they are independent, properly staffed and resourced, and ‘directly and solely’ responsible for all work associated with receiving instructions.

MedCo said the revised criteria ensure businesses with satisfactory systems and sufficient resources will be the only ones in the scheme.

A spokeswoman added: ‘Failure to meet the revised qualifying criteria will result in suspension with immediate effect from the MedCo system for registered MROs and rejection of applications for new MROs attempting to register.’

She confirmed 134 ‘shell’ companies have been suspended from the system and will no longer appear in the MRO search offer.

As previously warned, those companies will not have any fees they have paid refunded.

Those with instructions to produce a medical report will be able to fulfil the instruction and have an ongoing obligation to upload their case data.

The revised offer for MRO searches comes up with two top-tier companies and 10 regional-based providers.