MoJ Call For Evidence Request: (16th July 2015)

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has today launched a Call for Evidence as part of its planned review of the impact of the MedCo Portal.

Aspects of the new system to be reviewed include:

  • The qualifying criteria for Medical Reporting Organisations (MROs)
  • The declaration of financial links document
  • The ‘offer’ (the number and mix of MROs) presented following a search on MedCo

The Government is aware that the personal injury sector is fast moving and contains many innovative organisations and individuals. It has however become apparent that a number of new business practices have developed in this sector with the potential to undermine the Government’s policy objectives.

Accordingly the review process has been brought forward in order to gather evidence from stakeholders on the areas the Government has already committed to review and on the behaviours currently being exhibited by a number of organisations operating in this sector. The Call for Evidence will seek stakeholder views on these and other areas related to the operation of the MedCo portal.

Submissions received from stakeholders will be considered alongside Management Information provided by MedCo.

The Government will publish findings along with details of changes to the system - if any - in the Autumn.

All Call For Evidence information must be submitted to the MoJ By 4th September 2015.

Further information and copies of the Call for Evidence document and guide questions can be accessed at: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/medco-framework-review-call-for-evidence

MedCo welcomes the MoJ’s decision to bring forward its review and will be working to support the Call for Evidence process to include the collation and provision of operational MI.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are MedCo?

MedCo is a new system to facilitate the sourcing of Medical Reports in soft tissue injury claims brought under the MoJ’s new Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents.

MedCo Registration Solutions is a non-profit making organisation with a Board comprised of representatives with cross industry interests and an independent chair. Representatives include members from The ABI, AMRO, APIL, BMA, FOIL, Law Society, MASS, MIB and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. The Board is overseen by independent Chair Lorraine Rogerson.

How Does Medco Work?

The MedCo system returns a choice of randomly generated MROs and Medical Experts from which Authorised Users can select which medical expert or MRO they instruct

Medical Experts, MROs and Commissioners of Medical Reports must register via the MedCo website in order to be able to provide or commission medico-legal reports in relation to RTA soft tissue injury claims.

Any appropriately registered MRO or qualified medical expert will be able to register with MedCo, but it will no longer be possible for those commissioning reports to appoint an individual or organisation with which they have a financial link.

Why has MedCo been set up?

MedCo has been established to facilitate the operational changes required under the MoJ’s new Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents

Who sits on the MedCo Board?

The MedCo Boardis comprised of representatives with cross industry interests and an independent chair. Representatives include members from The ABI, AMRO, APIL, BMA, FOIL, Law Society, MASS, MIB and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. The Board is overseen by independent Chair Lorraine Rogerson

When will MedCo go live?

Any Claim Notification Form sent on or after the 6th April 2015 involving a soft tissue injury claim, must have a fixed cost Medical Report commissioned from a medical expert or MRO sourced via MedCo.

With effect from 1st January 2016 medical experts must be accredited by Medco Registration Solutions in order to provide the initial fixed cost Medical Report in a soft tissue injury claims.

Who needs to register with MedCo?

Medical Experts, MROs and Commissioners of Medical Reports must register via the MedCo website in order to be able to provide or commission medico-legal reports in relation to RTA soft tissue injury claims.

How do you register?

All groups can register via the MedCo website.

What does it cost to register?

Registration costs vary depending on the user type. For full details please see link below to the MedCo Charging Policy: http://www.medco.org.uk/media/1023/medco-charging-policy-4-march-2015.pdf

In Summary:

  • MRO registrations - are split into x2 categories with separate qualifying criteria for each which has been decided by the MoJ. The annual registration fee will be determined by the qualifying criteria and will be £75,000 or £15,000 accordingly
  • Medical Expert registrations - will be subject to a £150 annual registration fee
  • Authorised User registrations – are free

How long does it take for a registration to be processed?

It can take between 5-10 days for MedCo to process your application and payment where applicable.

Once submitted, your application will be processed by MedCo and subject to satisfactory verification you will be ‘approved’ and receive an email to confirm your approved status and invite you to create your MedCo account.

Once the registration process is complete, all the relevant User Agreements and Policies have been accepted and any applicable fee paid, your account will be set to operational.

Can a Medical Expert register individually as well as part of an MRO?

Direct Medical Experts who take their instructions solely from MRO’s will be required to register with MedCo, but not until January 2016.

At this time, a Direct Medical expert who takes instruction from an MRO and who wishes to also take direct instruction (from solicitors etc) can and must register.

What are the MedCo Terms of Use?

Please click the link below to see the MedCo Terms Of Use:

http://www.medco.org.uk/media/1013/medco-authorised-user-agreement-v2-issue.pdf

REGISTRATION FAQ’S

Is there a step by step guide for the registration process?

Please click on the link below to find the MedCo Business Process Guide to assist with the registration process: Business process guide v0.8 Mar 2015.pdf

What are the ICO requirements for registering on MedCo?

Authorised Users or Data Contributors intending to register with MedCo are required to have a current registration with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

The Data Protection Act 1998 requires every data controller (e.g. organisation, sole trader) who is processing personal information to register with the ICO, unless they are exempt.

As part of your registration with MedCo, we will ask you for a valid ICO number which we will verify with the ICO register of data controllers. If you do not have an ICO number, you can find out how to register on the ICO website www.ico.org.uk.

Please note that you must register your organisation as it is shown with the Information Commissioner’s Office “Register of data controllers”.

If you believe you are exempt from registering with the ICO, please email enquiries@medco.org.uk to provide an explanation of the exemption you are relying upon.

Do I need to include my personal SRA Number or that of my organisation?

When registering, please ensure you enter the SRA number of your organisation not your personal SRA number.

How do I keep track of all my employees and any financial links they may have?

For use of the service, it is important that claimant representatives declare any direct financial links, as defined in the User Agreement, with MROs and Direct Medical Experts. This will not be possible until the MROs and Direct Medical Experts have registered. Therefore, and in accordance with the User Agreement, it will be necessary for those registering to check that their declarations of direct financial links are up to date on a regular basis.

Please refer any further queries to the MoJ for clarification on their policy around the declaration of financial links. whiplashcondoc@justice.gsi.gov.uk


Medco Registration Solutions (MRS) is an independent organisation responsible for implementing the Government’s reforms around the independence and quality of medical evidence in soft tissue injury claims.

Medco reforms

The Government is looking to implement changes to the allocation of medical experts and introduce a system of accreditation.

MedCo will be a new system for sourcing medical reports in soft tissue injury claims brought under the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents.

How the system will work

Any appropriately accredited MRO or qualified medical professional will be free to register with Medco, but it will no longer be possible for claimant lawyers to source reports from an individual or organisation with which they have a financial link (the policy decision on which financial links will need to be declared will soon be made by the Government). This will deter those aiming to cheat the system.

Users will be able to search for either individual experts or medical reporting organisations (MRO) who can provide the initial medico-legal report for RTA soft tissue injury claims as defined by 1.1(16A) of the Pre-Action Protocol:

"'soft tissue injury claim' means a claim brought by an occupant of a motor vehicle where the significant physical injury caused is a soft tissue injury and includes claims where there is a minor psychological injury secondary in significance to the physical injury."

The system will return a choice of randomly generated results and the user will be able to select from those results which individual experts /MRO to instruct.

It is the Government’s intention that both individual experts and MROs will be subject to objective qualifying criteria to be determined by the Government which MRS will implement. The Board is aware that concerns have been raised about the criteria against which MROs will be evaluated. As these criteria are yet to be finalised by the Government, the Board is unable to comment further at the current time.

Timings

Amendments have now been agreed to the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents (the RTA Protocol) and to the Civil Procedure Rules.

The amendments bring into force two important procedural changes:

  • In respect of any Claim Notification Form sent on or after 6 April 2015 the first report in a soft tissue injury claim must be a fixed cost medical report commissioned from a medical expert or MRO sourced via MedCo;
  • With effect from 1 January 2016 medical experts must be accredited by MRS in order to provide the initial fixed cost medical report in a soft tissue injury claim.

MedCo opens for claimant solicitor and insurer registrations

If you are a Claimant representative, such as a firm of solicitors, claims management company or a compensator such as an insurance company, as commissioners of medical reports, you are now able to submit an application to register with MedCo , and for you to accept the terms of the User Agreement.

Please read the Business Process Guide to understand how to complete the registration form. You must register your organisation as it is shown with the Information Commissioner’s Office “Register of data controllers"

For this service, it is important that claimant representatives declare any direct financial links, as defined in the User Agreement, with MROs and Direct Medical Experts. This will not be possible until the MROs and Direct Medical Experts are able to register. Therefore, and in accordance with the User Agreement, it will be necessary for those registering to check that their declarations of direct financial links are up to date on a regular basis.

MRO and Direct Medical Expert registrations

Registrations for medical reporting organisations and direct medical experts will be invited at a later date.

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