Physios make better medico-legal experts than GPs, says expert

Britain has one of the highest rates of whiplash in Europe and more physios could be employed to investigate injury claims and identify fraud.

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Accredited medical experts for whiplash cases must be GPs or physios

This was one of the topics discussed during a conference for the Medico-legal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in London on 18 November.

Martin Heskins, a former solicitor and general manager of MedCo  explained that part of his organisation’s remit was to help combat fraud and reduce insurance premiums.

MedCo, a not-for-profit organisation, is responsible for implementing the government’s whiplash reforms in England and Wales. It also provides an online system so whiplash claimants and their solicitors can search for accredited medical experts, who can be GPs or physios.

Raising profile of physio experts

Since its launch in April 2015 more than 749,000 searches on MedCo’s system have resulted in the selection of a medical expert.

However, 78 per cent of these selections were for medical experts who were GPs and only 12 per cent were for physios.

‘I don’t think most solicitors know how beneficial it is to have a physiotherapist rather than a GP,’ said Mr Heskins.

‘I’m told you often get a better quality of reporting from a physio. But when I was a lawyer I probably wouldn’t have chosen a physio over a GP… so it’s an educational issue, and you need to find ways to get solicitors to look at physiotherapists more favourably.’

Mr Heskin added that 134 physios are currently registered with MedCo, but of these only 104 are active, as 30 have yet to complete their accreditation.

Author: Robert Millett

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