The organisation overseeing whiplash diagnosis has said it will not sanction virtual appointments, despite concerns about people coming into contact with each other during the Covid-19 emergency.
MedCo, the system for sourcing medical reports in soft tissue injury cases, said the ban on the use of video examinations will not be lifted at this time.
There continue to be concerns about forcing people who have suffered an injury to have face-to-face meetings with doctors and medical experts, as the UK government continues to urge people not to socialise and to work from home.
In a statement published yesterday, MedCo said: ‘The validity of diagnosis and prognosis opinions arising from video examinations is uncertain. There are also issues concerning privacy, and data security which will need to be resolved before video examinations can be undertaken as a matter of course.’
MedCo said it is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and will continue to monitor the advice of the Ministry of Justice and Public Health England. The organisation is preparing a contingency plan which may have to be introduced in due course.
In the meantime, MedCo said it expects medical reporting organisations, medical experts and legal representatives to provide their ‘own sensible guidance’ to claimants before deciding to arrange, cancel or postpone any appointments.
Meanwhile, before the virus outbreak increased this week, the Ministry of Justice published additional rules and audit process for direct medical experts working in the MedCo system. The publication was made in advance of the new portal – in theory going live in August – which will provide for unrepresented parties to make claims.
The new rules will ensure that DMEs who choose to opt in to work for LiPs have sufficient resources, processes and capacity to deal with the volume of instructions they choose to accept. Medics must adhere to new fit and proper persons criteria, given the imbalance in knowledge, experience and power in the relationship between themselves and unrepresented claimants.
MedCo has also agreed to develop a new optional ‘accreditation training module’ for DMEs wishing to undertake unrepresented claimant work.
*The Law Society is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice it receives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England.
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