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GPs' medicolegal work threatened

GPs could lose as much as a two-thirds of their medicolegal reporting work following a High Court ruling.

The ruling in the Wollard versus Fowler case last month means reporting agencies, which provide GPs with 90 per cent of the work, cannot charge administration fees to insurance companies on claims of below £10,000.

The decision means GPs could go unpaid for road traffic accident insurance work as their contract is with the agency, not the solicitors.

It could also affect the future financial viability of agencies.

Dr Jan Wise, chair of the BMA's medicolegal committee, said doctors who had done work through an intermediary for the predictive costs regime may find they did not get paid anymore.

The BMA advised GPs to always agree fees before undertaking reporting work and to seek further legal or trade union advice where doubts remain.

Dr Eugene Hughes, a GP in Ryde, Isle of Wight, whose practice does a significant amount of medicolegal reporting work, said the ruling was 'very, very worrying'.

He said: 'It may well end up with us not doing business with the agencies, but we'll find a way round it.'

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