From this summer, the scheme for diagnosing whiplash injuries in RTA claims is to reinstate its exclusion of remote examinations. The restriction had been deferred by MedCo during the pandemic to enable injured people to be assessed through virtual appointments instead.
In light of the government’s ending of Covid-19 rules though, all examinations on or after 1 July must be in person.
Executive chair of MedCoMartin Heskins, stated ‘It has always been MedCo’s policy to prohibit medical examinations by remote methods. This is stipulated in our rules, which all operational experts agree to. When this prohibition was suspended in 2020 it was made clear that the change was temporary. At a recent meeting the MedCo board unanimously agreed that the ban on remote examinations should be reinstated.’
MedCo reported that a limited group of claimants may still need to isolate as a result of Covid-19. However, in situations where the claimant is vulnerable, there may be arrangements for them to have a remote examination.
Experts will be obliged, if undertaking a remote examination because the claimant is vulnerable due to Covid-19, to record in their report the type of vulnerability the claimant has and why that has resulted in the examination being conducted remotely.
Remote examinations were prohibited to cut the risk of fraud and to make sure that claimants with more serious injuries were not mis-diagnosed by doctors. Claimant lawyers highlighted concerns during the pandemic regarding the potential for insurers to challenge medical reports as examinations were not conducted in person.
Representatives of the defendant and claimant sectors make up the MedCo board, as well as the British Medical Association and Law Society.