Claimant personal injury solicitors are deeply unhappy with the MedCo system for sourcing medical experts in portal cases, two surveys have suggested, with questions raised over some of the tier 2 agencies appearing in search results.
There are stories about new medical reporting organisations (MROs) located above kebab shops, at estate agents trying out a new area of work and at residential addresses.
One survey of 300 firms was conducted by a large MROs that has asked us to withhold its name due to “commercial sensitivities”, while the other was undertaken by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
The first survey found that 94% of respondents recognised no more than a fifth of the medical reporting agencies listed on the portal, while 26% of those who have already processed cases using the portal would not recommend or ever re-use the agency selected.
Two-thirds of users did not feel they were given enough information to choose the appropriate MRO – 68% or respondents felt tier 1 agencies should be identified in the search results – and there were concerns over the number of new tier 2 agencies starting up with no track record.
This perhaps explained why a third of firms requiring medical reports had not used the portal more than a month after its introduction – the survey said some have not even registered yet, creating delays and backlogs, with many blaming administrative delays at MedCo.
Most respondents thought that the implementation of MedCo was poorly handled, that the administrative burden has increased thanks to its introduction and that their clients were receiving a worse service. Every single one believed there should be guaranteed service levels for all MROs on the portal; as it stands solicitors have establish their own service-level agreements (SLAs) with each agency.
Only 95 APIL members responded to a survey sent to all 3,582 members in England and Wales, but the results echoed those of the other poll, with solicitors complaining about the time taken agreeing SLAs with new providers, and the quality of some of the new MROs also questionable.
APIL said solicitors were particularly concerned that the medical experts suggested by MedCo were too far away from clients, with solicitors unable to locate a local expert even when they knew of one who had signed up to MedCo.