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Justice Secretary Jack Straw MP has presented an unfair generalisation of independent medical experts, who represent both claimant and defendant sides in personal injury disputes.

Dr Simon Margolis, CEO of Premex Group which manages a panel of more than 9000 medical experts, said that the former Justice Secretary's comments made yesterday in the House of Commons fail to acknowledge how the modern delivery of expert medical evidence is carried out.

Delivering his Motor Insurance Reform Bill, Mr Straw said that whiplash diagnoses were only delivered by "3rd rate doctors, in the pay of claims management companies or personal injury lawyers".

"I believe our panel of experts would appreciate the opportunity to challenge Mr Straw on this assertion and I invite him to do so at our next seminar at the Royal College of Physicians on 30th November," said Dr Margolis. "Premex Group undertakes work for both sides of the industry with reports prepared by the same cohort of medical experts irrespective of the source of the instruction - claimant or defendant.

"The 'hired gun' to which I believe Mr Straw refers has been largely eradicated by the Woolf reforms and medical reporting agencies such as ourselves have introduced an unbiased, professional approach to the delivery of medical evidence in the personal injury process."  

"Developing authoritative guidance on the diagnosis of an injury is not a straightforward task. There is no blood test or imaging modality currently in existence that can prove or disprove an injury was sustained or whether symptoms are being experienced. That is why a combination of the taking of a history and the laying on of hands during clinical examination by a medical expert remains the appropriate approach. Much can be learned from the general demeanour of the claimant and the way the history is delivered."

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