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GPs spokesman warns that doctors will not want to police injury claims industry
Getting doctors to engage in a pilot scheme to deter people from making fraudulent whiplash claims could prove to be a ‘headache’, the chairman of a committee representing local GPs has warned.
The Telegraph & Argus revealed this week that Bradford has double the number of people claiming for whiplash injury than the national average, leading to one local MP, David Ward, to call for the personal injury claims system to be regulated.
Mr Ward said this week that he wanted to run a pilot with the medical professionals in the BD3 postcode area to engage with GPs who write medical notes for claimants. He said that GPs could not be happy about the increase in people coming through their doors claiming to have whiplash.
But Dr Shaun Millns-Sizer, who represents hundreds of doctors across the district, said that he was not aware of any problems in the district or BD3, or with GPs noticing an unusually high number of patients with whiplash.
“We do see whiplash from time to time, and it is frustrating, but we have to do it because it is part of our contract,” Dr Millns-Sizer said.
“If Mr Ward is hoping to run a pilot, what is he hoping to get out of it?Whiplash is a clinical diagnosis and there is no objective testing available to use. We are contracted to treat people based on need.
“As doctors, we would not want to be seen to police a private industry because we are not here to do that. I would be interested to see what he has got in mind. Doctors are part of the NHS and have professional regulations about putting patients first, and doctors do not want to fall foul of this.
“I strongly recommend that members don’t put themselves at risk and I can see conflict already. What does Mr Ward want GPs to do?
“He may want us to point out fraudulent claims, but it is hard to know because the common feature is pain, which is so subjective.
“He may find that a pilot may increase the number of cases of whiplash, I am partly sceptical, but good luck to Mr Ward because I think he has a headache on his hands.”
In response to Dr Millns-Sizer, Mr Ward said: “It is going to be awkward, but this is such a serious problem and there is no use saying it is difficult. We have to see and what can we do to tackle that difficulty.”
The MP is meeting with an industry expert next week about possibly holding the pilot.