Physios take expert role in whiplash consultation exercise

Physiotherapists are being recognised by the government as ‘medical experts’ who can assist in the current drive to clamp down on fraudulent and exaggerated whiplash claims.

Representatives from the society attended a meeting at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on 26 February, as part of the MoJ’s current consultation on reducing whiplash claims.

The government is concerned that increases in compensation claims for whiplash injuries are hiking up car insurance premiums.

More whiplash cases could be challenged in small claims courts, and the consultation is considering developing independent medical panels and clinical guidance in this field.

CSP professional adviser Léonie Dawson was joined at the meeting by CSP member Chris Worsfold, an advanced practitioner and tutor in whiplash associated disorder.

It was chaired jointly by the MoJ and the Department of Health (DH), and attended by representatives from the British Medical Association, intermediary companies and several GPs.

The MoJ said it recognised physiotherapists within the term ‘medical experts’, and, in relation to the consultation, as being members of a healthcare profession that is expert in the complexity of whiplash.

Ms Dawson said: ‘The overall approach by the stakeholders shows the continued commitment to provide accurate reports on whiplash outcomes and to devise a process by which medical reports can be provided by appropriately competent individuals.

‘Physiotherapists have been at the heart of whiplash research for the past 10 years and the CSP is pleased that our role in this work is recognised.

We look forward to continuing to work with the MoJ and DH at the next stage.’

The consultation closes on 8 March and the government intends to publish a response in the spring.

Sally Priestley

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