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There is no need to be wary of doing reports

From Dr Tony Feltbower

Coventry

Concerning correspondence about personal injury reports, especially from Dr Vaughan Smith (3 December), I totally disagree that the patients do not want to get better.

I have provided thousands of reports (typically from RTAs) for many different agencies and solicitors and have found the work very profitable, and usually interesting.

For the vast majority of patients, their main concern is to get back to normal activity as soon as possible. There will always be some who are trying to fleece the system ­ but that is not our problem.

I agree that some agencies are extremely poor at honouring contracts for payment, but on the whole, once a relationship has been established, there is little difficulty in obtaining reasonably prompt payment, though an efficient secretarial and IT system is essential.

I have never used the small claims court, although I have lost small sums when agencies have failed, which is why I deal with many instructors rather than sticking to just a few.

As medical examiners, we should not be concerned with whether injuries are witnessed or treated as reports should always say: 'The claimant states that....'

Finally, the chances of appearing in court are indeed negligible for GPs ­ I have written more than 5,000 in 10 years and have not even been summoned.

·From Dr Miriam Wohl

Leicester

I was disappointed to read that the BMA appears not to be negotiating on behalf of doctors who write medicolegal reports (Letters, 5 November).

I have been writing 'GP expert' reports on minor personal injury cases for eight years and feel there is an urgent need for representation on our

behalf.

In the 1990s I found BMA disappointing in obtaining higher fees for doctors who write medical reports for

the Benefits Agency and it looks very much as

though history is repeating itself here.

I wonder if other doctors who write medicolegal reports are as concerned as I am about the way in which the medical reporting organisations seem to be trying to persuade us to accept a reduction in fees of as much as 50 per cent.

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