September 20, 2012
AXA, one of the UK's leading car insurers, has carried out research among UK doctors as part of its ongoing campaign to understand the culture of Personal Injury (PI) claims in the UK and reduce the payouts that have driven substantial rises in car insurance premiums.
The research revealed that doctors were under pressure to be part of the £2bn PI payout
not just through increasing numbers of whiplash patients taking up surgery time but with 7% actually being offered money to refer patients with whiplash injuries.
Over the last month,
AXA car insurance
polled doctors across the UK and an overwhelming 88% of those surveyed said they felt the government should introduce new measures to control whiplash claims for motorists.
22% said they had seen a substantial increase in whiplash patients over the last five years while a further 40% had seen a moderate increase in this period. Over the last year alone 11% had seen substantial increases and 31% moderate increases.
Doctors surveyed believe that on average, 37% of patients who come to them with whiplash as a result of a car accident are fraudulent, while a third of doctors believe this number to be over 50%.
Over half (58%) of the doctors involved in the AXA study signed off 50 per cent or less of patients as having a genuine whiplash injury.
One of the biggest problems faced by doctors is the accuracy of whiplash diagnosis - only 7% believe it is very easy to accurately diagnose.
To improve this situation, 78% agree that there should be a more rigorous approach to assessing injuries, while access to more detailed guidelines around whiplash type injuries was desired by 71% of doctors surveyed. Better tests (47%), access to specialist clinics (38%) and expert opinion (39%) were also cited as popular improvements that could be made.