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Doctors call for action on bogus whiplash claims

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by Jan Harris
Doctors call for action on bogus whiplash claims

Around nine out of ten doctors want the government to clamp down on bogus whiplash claims made by motorists, according to research by insurance group AXA.

Seven per cent of the doctors polled by AXA had been offered money to refer patients with whiplash injuries.

Twenty-two per cent of the doctors said the number of patients claiming to have whiplash injuries had increased substantially over the past five years.

A further 40 per cent said they had seen a moderate increase in this type of case.

Doctors surveyed by AXA believed that thirty-seven per cent of the whiplash cases they saw were fraudulent, while a third of the doctors thought that more than 50 per cent of cases were fraudulent.

Only 7 per cent of doctors said it was very easy to accurately diagnose a whiplash injury.

Suggestions for ways to improve the diagnosis of whiplash injury included more detailed guidelines, better tests, access to specialist clinics and expert opinion.

Nearly half of the doctors surveyed thought that paying compensation to victims of accidents has had a negative effect on society.

The online survey of 101 doctors was carried out for AXA by YouGov.

The increase in whiplash claims has led to a total increase of £2 billion in the cost of insurance premiums for all drivers.

Sarah Vaughan, motor director at AXA insurance said: “We are determined to put a stop to the totally unnecessary levels of compensation payments being made for whiplash in the UK.

“We have already made a first step towards doing this through campaigning for and securing the banning of referral fees. But we believe that compensation is still far too easy to come by.

“Our study clearly shows that the medical profession is under real pressure in this area and crying out for more guidance and support to help them deal with a rapidly growing number of whiplash patients.”

A separate survey by ITV Daybreak has also highlighted the problem of fraudulent claims.

Seventy-three per cent of the doctors who took part in the survey said they thought most or all of their patients exaggerated their symptoms of whiplash.

ITV Daybreak carried out the research in conjunction with doctors.net.uk.

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News posted: September 20, 2012

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