Getting GPs to discourage claims could be pain in neck

It could turn out to be an even bigger pain in the neck to get doctors to participate in a pilot scheme that would discourage people from making spurious whiplash claims, according to one local GP committee.

With it recently being revealed that Bradford has twice the number of people making whiplash injury claims than the national average, David Ward, the local MP, has called for more regulations to be placed upon the personal injury compensation system in the UK. To that end, Mr Ward put forward a pilot programme with BD3 postcode medical professionals in an effort to engage in a dialogue with GPs who have seen whiplash injury claimants come through their doors in order to identify and minimise the problem.

However, the claims that the number of whiplash patients has gone up within the BD3 postcode is false, according to Dr Shaun Millns-Sizer, a representative for a GP committee that has a membership in the hundreds. Dr Millns-Sizer said that, since the diagnosis for whiplash is a clinical one, there are no objective tests to use when GPs are approached by someone reporting symptoms indicating whiplash, which would then make the idea of a pilot programme rather moot.

It is not the job of the medical profession to police private industry, the committee representative said, adding that, as part of the NHS, doctors have professional regulations that demand they put the wellbeing of their patients above all else. With the only common feature to a whiplash diagnosis is pain, an incredibly subjective matter, Dr Millns-Sizer challenged Mr Ward to explain exactly how such a programme would help in weeding out fraudulent claims.

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