Whiplash claim reforms 'could increase GP workload'

Plans to move whiplash assessments from general practice to independent medical panels could increase GP workload, the GPC has said.

Dr Richard Vautrey: GPs could be asked for help with claims
Dr Richard Vautrey: GPs could be asked for help with claims

A Ministry of Justice consultation launched on Tuesday makes recommendations to cut whiplash injury claims in England and Wales.

It says victims should be assessed by an 'independent medical panel', not their GP, when they wish to make an insurance claim for a whiplash injury after a car accident.

This panel would assess claims for whiplash injury and give impartial advice to the court, the consultation said.

However, GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey warned that the plans were unlikely to stop patients from visiting their GP with whiplash injuries.

He warned that the introduction of independent panels may even increase GP workload.

‘It may be that patients seek support from their GP when making an appeal against a decision, adding to the GP workload,' he said.

Dr Vautrey said he welcomed the principles behind the consultation, however. ‘We would support any attempt to try to reduce the workload in the NHS,’ he said.

The consultation closes on 8 March 2013. The Ministry of Justice will review all submissions to the consultation and intends to publish a response in Spring 2013.

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