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GPs owed thousands as medical report company collapses

By Steve Nowottny

GPs face losing tens of thousands of pounds in unpaid medico-legal fees after one of the country's largest medical reporting companies went into administration.

Operations at the E-Reporting Group and its subsidiary Medical Report Services have been taken over by Premier Medical Group, which said last week it was committed to providing continuing employment to 68 employees and more than 100 medical experts.

But GPs and consultants have been told they must contact administrators for the money they are owed, with many GPs having not received pay for invoiced services going back up to three months.

One GP who worked for the organisation, who asked not to be named, told Pulse he believed dozens of GPs could ultimately face losses of between £10,000 and £30,000, with some consultants likely to write off even bigger sums.

He said many GPs would refuse to hand over work already done until they were paid.

‘I've got a pile of reports for work I've done in the last couple of weeks and they're going nowhere. I'm not going to do it if I'm not going to get paid.'

Another sessional GP, who also asked to remain anonymous, said he was owed around £10,000 in outstanding fees which he had little hope of recouping.

‘If the agency goes tits up then by the time everyone else has got their money we're going to get nothing,' he said.

Premier Medical Group CEO Jason Powell told Pulse: ‘Doctors will have had up to three months' work of clinics booked that potentially they could have lost their income on. While we're delighted to step in and help out here, we are very sorry for doctors finding themselves in this difficult situation.'

Mr Powell warned the wider medico-legal reporting market would be particularly hard hit by the global credit crunch.

He said: ‘The general deleveraging within the economy means smaller companies in this market, with high operational leverage, are left particularly exposed to the risk of a sudden withdrawal of funding by banks attempting to repair their capital bases.'

In July last year the BMA estimated around 3,000 doctors – the majority GPs - were owed an average of about £2,000 each after IMS Indemnity Ltd and IMS Litigation went into administration.

Dr Simon Parkinson, secretary of Worcestershire LMC, where E-Reporting Group was based, said: ‘Our LMC advice is to ask for money upfront - but I know the medico-legal reporting people generally won't do that.'

Potential losses

- Core of around 50 GPs most frequently used by E-Reporting Group could lose anything up to £30,000
- A handful of consultants could lose even more
- Several hundred medical experts doing less frequent work could be owed smaller sums
- Those affected advised to contact administrators – Premier Medical Group to underwrite future activity

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