GP charges not to act as deterrent, expert says

One personal injury solicitor expert says that the £21 GPs are charging to diagnose whiplash are unlikely to act as a deterrent to those making fraudulent claims.

Motor Accident Solicitors Society trainer, Craig Budsworth, said in a recent interview that the initial report of a treating doctor is inadmissible as evidence in a whiplash claim due to impartiality issues. The legal expert said that courts prefer to see medical evidence gathered six to eight weeks after the occurrence of the accident in order to make a determine how much the claimant has recovered by during that time.

There are bigger concerns at play, said Mr Budsworth, such as insurance providers settling with claimants that lack to provide a single stitch of medical evidence. Stopping that practice would be the best way to prevent fraud, he added, remarking that the £21 examination fee is not nearly high enough to act as any sort of deterrent to a determined fraudster.

The Road Traffic Act 1988 paved the way for the doctor fees, as the legislation provides language allowing doctors to accept fees for the provision of treatment in the wake of road traffic accidents. Three Sheffield NHS walk-in centres have implemented the fees recently in order to cope with increased claimant volumes.

Royal College of GPs spokesman, Dr Stephen Davies, said that the number of surgeries in Sheffield imposing the charges was in the minority. The doctor did add that there has been an increase in people coming in for whiplash assessments that lack any sort of clinical evidence of injury, but are simply doing so in order to record the visit in their medical notes.

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