The organisation overseeing independent diagnosis of whiplash injuries has taken further action to throw out companies threatening to undermine the system.

MedCo has announced that it has suspended 21 ‘shell’ companies created by larger providers purportedly to ensure maximum visibility to the system’s computer search engine.

MedCo was set up to ensure that businesses diagnosing soft tissue injuries were independent and of high quality. However, the Gazette reported last year that organisations have been accused of flooding supposedly random searches for an expert diagnosis with entities owned and managed by themselves.

Last October, the government published new qualifying criteria for medical reporting organisations (MROs) intending to appear in searches.

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.

In November, MedCo suspended 134 ‘shell’ companies as it sought to clear the system of providers operating for the same umbrella organisation.

The latest suspension of a further 21 companies is a sign the larger providers have not heeded warnings to improve compliance, as well as an indication that authorities are still concerned some are attempting to undermine the scheme.

MedCo said the suspended MROs will no longer appear in the MedCo search offer. However, they will be permitted to complete existing instructions to avoid impact on lawyers.

The offer to lawyers was revised last year to ensure searches come up with two top-tier national companies and 10 regional-based providers.

The enforcement action comes a week after MedCo disciplined suspended 23 MROs and 14 direct medical experts for failure to upload medical case data to the system within the required six months.