Claimant Service in Decline thanks to MEDCO

This article was published on: 06/1/15

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  • 94% of Claimant Solicitors didn’t recognise a fifth of the MRO’s listed on Portal
  • 26% of those who have processed cases using portal would not recommend selected agency
  • 68% felt that tier 1 agencies should be identified in search results

These are the harrowing figures that have been released on the back of two recent surveys regarding claimant solicitors’ feelings towards MEDCO.

The main survey was carried out by a source that has decided to remain anonymous for “commercial sensitivities”.  Their findings made it clear that the claimant industry lack faith in the Government’s new medical services portal, introduced as part of the personal injury claims process. This is supported by the fact that just a third of firms requiring medical reports had not yet used the portal, despite its existence for more than a month.

So what is the problem? Why are so many claimant solicitors unconvinced or having such difficulty trusting the new scheme? More importantly, what impact is it having on the clients that these solicitors serve?

Many of the solicitors who took the survey have reported a rapid decline in the service that the client is receiving since the implementation of MEDCO. The blame for this was directed towards basic administration errors, which has led to many firms still not being registered to use the new system. This has created a backlog and with it further delays to claims that is leaving the claimant bemused and disappointed.

Concerns were also raised about the medical reporting organisations (MRO’s) that are being allowed to sign up to be a part of the portal. Those solicitors who have been using the portal claim that many of the MROs are unrecognisable and that some of the tier 2 MRO’s were being accepted onto the panel without any track record within the profession.

How MEDCO should be improved

Although the portal is only at an early stage of existence, it is clear that these are more than just teething problems. Actions are already needed to ensure that claimant solicitors can improve the service they are giving to their clients.

One way the survey results suggested that this could be done is by introducing guaranteed service levels for all MROs on the portal.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), who carried out the second of the two surveys, stated that solicitors were particularly concerned about the location of Medical Experts. Responses to their survey revealed that there had been cases where the solicitor was unable to locate a local expert through the Portal, even though they knew of one prior to MEDCO’s introduction.

Scott Rees and Co Partner, David Byrne, gave his thoughts on the findings, saying: “The main issue that should not be ignored from this, is that the service that claimant solicitors, such as ourselves, are able to offer our clients is being compromised.”

“This is clearly down to an administrative problem born by the launch of the MEDCO portal and it is now creating backlogs and delays to the progress of claims.”

“Claimants have already been put through the trauma of suffering an injury in an accident where they are completely exonerated of blame. They should not have to suffer delays as a result of basic administrative errors in their bid to gain justice on top of this.”

Overall 300 people took the main survey, with 95 members of APIL answering theirs, the results of which supported the findings of the other poll.