16 July 2015Print This Post

Government launches review of MedCo – after just three months

MedCo: does it meet the government’s objectives?

MedCo: does it meet the government’s objectives?

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) today brought forward its planned six-month review of MedCo in response to the problems that have been encountered so far.

In a written statement to Parliament, civil justice minister Lord Faulks said the plan had been to start a review of MedCo in October, once six months’ worth of useable data was available.

“However, since the portal went live on 6 April 2015, issues relating to a number of new business practices within this sector have emerged which have the potential to undermine the government’s policy objectives and public confidence in the MedCo portal.

“Today, therefore, I would like to confirm that the government is bringing its planned review forward.”

The MoJ has launched a public call for evidence “which will form a key part of the review process”, Lord Faulks said.

“The review will specifically seek evidence on whether the MedCo IT portal meets the government’s objectives, and the evidence provided will be analysed to identify whether changes need to be made to the portal or to the framework of rules underpinning it in order to achieve those objectives.

“The government seeks views from stakeholders across the medico-legal reporting services sector in respect of whiplash claims, including representatives from the claimant lawyer, medical and insurance sectors. A report with recommendations for action – if required – will be published in the autumn.”

Litigation Futures has chronicled the problems that have emerged since 6 April, with two judicial reviews now underway: Speed Medical is challenging the MoJ’s decision that of the seven medical reporting organisations (MROs) presented to a solicitor from a search on MedCo, only one is a ‘tier 1’ provider, meaning it is a high-volume national MRO, like Speed; the second action is from a group of businesses claiming that there was insufficient consultation before MedCo was introduced.

Further, last month the MoJ told MedCo to crack down on the tier 1 MROs that have created multiple tier 2 agencies to increase their chances of receiving instructions and expressed concern over the ‘Qualitas’ model.

Other issues include the work solicitors are having to put in to establish the credentials of new tier 2 providers that have emerged since MedCo started.

By Neil Rose


One Response to “Government launches review of MedCo – after just three months”

  1. As litigation futures has demonstrated its willingness to offer a balanced view, or even pay some lip service to Natural Justice, I publish for readers benefit the, now 3 versions, of the text used in the MoJ’s press release about what it said to the MedCo board:

    “has provided the following summary of his remarks made to the MedCo Board on 3 June.”

    Version 1: Published 17th June:
    established high volume MROs registering multiple new smaller MROs; such actions have the potential to put at risk the chances of existing MROs to compete for selection, and also runs contrary to the policy objective of providing users with a range of 7 ‘different’ – i.e. unconnected – MROs to choose from;

    Secondly, the ‘Qualitas’ model has grown, which allows ostensibly unconnected MROs to share instructions; this has the potential to enable organisations to subvert the rules on financial independence as well as raising issues over choice and data handling.

    Version 2: Published 17th June according to the MedCo Website:
    established high volume MROs registering multiple new smaller MROs; such actions have the potential to put at risk the chances of existing MROs to compete for selection, and also runs contrary to the policy objective of providing users with a range of 7 ‘different’ – i.e. unconnected – MROs to choose from;

    a significant number of Tier 2 MROs are affiliated with a central IT hub, whereby each MRO is a separate corporate entity but shares a number of centralised services and resources as part of a collective entity.

    Version 3: Published today in the review:
    established high volume MROs registering multiple new smaller MROs; such actions have the potential to put at risk the chances of existing MROs competing for selection and also runs contrary to the policy objective of providing users with a range of seven different – i.e. unconnected – MROs to choose from;

    a significant number of small MROs – where each MRO is a separate corporate entity – are sharing a number of centralised services and resources as part of a collective entity.

    We are a little perplexed about quite what the MROs who operate on the Qualitas plaftorm are doing wrong. One problem is it appears to change from week to week. If I was a doctor up at the GMC and I had changed my notes three times, I would probably be struck off.

    Central IT hubs were a serious offence last week, the have clearly been exhonerated this week.

    Anyway, We are pleased it is getting shorter, unlike the paragraph above! It does appear that a court sits about once a week in our abscence making judgement on an ethical, commission free model, operated by independent companies who make their own decisions on a case by case basis about which expert to instruct.

  2. Dr David Pearce on July 17th, 2015 at 12:44 am

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