Letter: Cheap new insurance form is cutting corners

Dear Editor

Our practice has recently received several requests from various life insurance companies for 'targeted medical reports'.

These are usually similar in format to the supplementary questionnaires that are sometimes included in private medical attendant's report (PMAR) forms, and the fee offered is generally very low.

The work can involve going through the patient's whole medical record and no actual PMAR is requested. I suspect that insurers use these forms if their client has mentioned anything untoward in their application form.

They seem to see this as a cheap alternative to paying for a PMAR at the BMA's agreed rate.

Recently, I received a targeted cardiology questionnaire for a patient who had mentioned palpitations on their application form. The cause of the symptoms was actually anxiety state, so clearly these reports could give a misleading picture.

I have so far returned them uncompleted with a note saying that I was unable to perform the work for the fee offered.

The BMA's Professional Fees Committee was aware that these reports were going to be piloted by the Association of British Insurers but was not in agreement with their use.

I would suggest that any GP receiving a request for such a report return it uncompleted with a note suggesting that a PMAR would be more appropriate.

Dr David W Leslie, Glasgow.

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