My noble Friend the Minister of State for Civil Justice has made the following written statement.
“In response to widespread concerns about the high number of whiplash claims and the impact they have on the price of motor insurance premiums, the Government have recently implemented a whiplash reform programme. A key component of these reforms was the introduction of an independent IT Portal for the sourcing of medical reports. All initial medical reports used in support of whiplash claims must be obtained through the new portal which is operated by MedCo Registration Solutions (MedCo) an independent industry led not for profit company. The new system makes sure that solicitors are no longer able to obtain a report from an organisation with whom they have a financial link, while maintaining competition between MROs in the market.
The Government committed to undertake a review once six months worth of useable data were 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 are bringing their planned review forward and I invite all stakeholders in the personal injury sector to participate in the public call for evidence which will form a key part of the review process. 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 seek 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.
Copies of the Call for Evidence have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The document is also available online at: https://www.gov.uk/consult.justice.”