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Entire notes are necessary for whiplash claims

With regard to solicitors' requests for access to medical records (Letters, November 10) a very common reason to request these records is a claim resulting from symptoms following rear-end collisions.

The increasingly accepted bio-psychosocial model of these symptoms requires a review of the patient's whole record in order to reach a complete understanding of all factors contributing to their production.

Reviewing simply the casualty department record, or anything else less, is simply not presenting any court with the full picture.

Likewise any solicitor presenting incomplete records for report preparation regarding a case of symptoms following rear-end collision which may go to court may also be participating in failing to present the full picture to the court, and most should be aware of this and request the whole record.

As a doctor who has prepared private medicolegal reports in such cases I have discussed this with a solicitor and have been reassured it was his practice to warn his client that anything in the past records may be relevant and may be raised and if the client was unhappy with that, then not to raise the action.

It may be that not all solicitors do this but even so ­ unless the patient is in some way mentally compromised ­ if the patient has signed the consent for their records to be released I cannot see it is the GP's responsibility to ensure they have fully read and understood everything that they have signed, or indeed that the solicitor has fully explained it to them, and in this I agree with the views of Dr John Leonard of Falkirk.

The issue of cost may be a valid one. I would advise requesting that the solicitors meet all reasonable costs involved, and they may do so.

If they do not and costs are consistently over £50 then perhaps it is a negotiating matter for the BMA. But I have to say I see as many records that would have cost less than this to copy, as more.

Dr Ian MacGregor



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