Headlines: October 26th, 2001

New guidance from the Cabinet Office promises to save GPs up to 5,000 hours a year.The new guidance will help reduce the burden placed on GPs when accident victims visit their surgery more in the pursuit of evidence for litigation than treatment.

It advises solicitors against automatically advising clients to visit their GP following an accident unless they need diagnosis or treatment. It clearly sets out that sending accident victims to see their GP for no other reason than to have minor injuries recorded is not an NHS service.

It advises instead to take photos where the injuries are visible, for the solicitor to make a detailed note of the apparent injuries, and for the referral to a forensic medical examiner or other appropriately trained doctor who has indicated that they are willing to provide this specialist service.

The Law Society says the guidance will be issued widely to all lawyers. Insurance companies will also work to the new guidelines.

The guidance is just one of the measures promised in the Cabinet Office report ‘Reducing GP Paperwork’ in March 2001, but the BMA have welcomed the difference it will make, given that litigation resulting from injury is on the increase.

The guidance will appear on the Cabinet Office website at www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/regulation/PublicSector/guidance.htm