Major Trauma Service

Working With Healthcare Professionals

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Patients and their families often need a lot of non-medical advice, help and assistance following a life changing accident.

This cannot always easily be provided by the medical staff at the hospital. Lawyers working in partnership with medics can offer great benefits to both patients and the NHS.

Early Access To Advice

Early access to information and legal advice can assist a patient and their family in many ways.

It can benefit the NHS by releasing medical staff to concentrate on the treatment the patient requires. Often advice will be needed by the injured person’s family in relation to the many non-medical issues.

These include:

  • Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection
  • Financial issues like outgoings and insurance policies
  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Welfare Benefits
  • Initial investigation of Compensation Claim
  • Hugh James Emergency Fund

The abolition of Legal Aid and decline in Citizens Advice funding has made this problem more acute. Hugh James as a firm, have a long and distinguished tradition stretching back over 50 years of providing and supporting the provision of pro-bono legal advice to those who would not otherwise have access to justice.

Initial advice and signposting are often provided by our team on a pro-bono basis (non chargeable). Also signposting to organisations and charities that can assist for example, Headway, SIA and other advice services and charities (both local and national).

We couldn’t have had a better solicitor. So knowledgeable and efficient, yet the most kind, caring and understanding friend all rolled into one, at a time when few people could really understand what my injury had done to me.

— Client

Unlocking Rehabilitation

Legal advice can assist a patient’s rehabilitation by providing them with early access to private rehabilitation and treatment. There have been several studies to show that the transition from hospital to rehabilitation is an important step in the recovery process following traumatic injury, and delays have been shown to result in poorer outcomes.

Potential identification of funding sources enables patients to access an increased amount of rehabilitation and treatment privately. Patients may possess private healthcare policies and critical illness policies which may provide alternative funding for rehabilitation (however this is now often removed from policies).

More often the case, rehabilitation is funded by:

  • Interim Payments - (payment on account of final damages) only after admission of liability and voluntary pre issue; or
  • Access to early rehabilitation via Rehabilitation Code 2015 (no admission of liability required).

The Rehabilitation Code 2015

The Code enables patients who have been involved in an accident to benefit from private rehabilitation. Patients legally have the right to rehabilitation and further treatment in the private sector if the accident by which they have sustained injury can be shown to be the fault of another.

There need not be an admission of liability from the insurers to utilise the Rehabilitation Code 2015. The purpose of the Code is to promote collaborative use of rehabilitation and early intervention in the compensation process to help the claimant make the best and quickest possible medical, social, vocational and psychological recovery. Rehabilitation paid for under the Code is ringfenced and not regarded as part of the claim. Therefore, in the event of the claim being unsuccessful, the monies paid under the Rehabilitation Code are not recoverable.

How the NHS benefits from the Rehabilitation Code and Interim Payments

One of the key benefits of the Rehabilitation Code 2015 and Interim Payments are that the cost of patient rehabilitation is transferred from the NHS to the insurer. A huge cost saving for the NHS.

Recovery of NHS treatment costs

The NHS Injury Costs Recovery (ICR) scheme aims to recover the cost of NHS treatment where personal injury compensation is paid. The sums of money which can be recovered are currently as follows:

  • Where the injured person used NHS treatment and is not admitted to hospital, the charge is £743.
  • The daily charge for NHS inpatient treatment is £913 per day.
  • The cap for recovery in respect of any one injury is £54,566.
  • There is also a recoverable charge for the use of an ambulance.

Much of the cost of this treatment is currently met by the NHS. Currently the NHS can seek to recoup some of this outlay up to a limit of £50,561 for patients via the NHS Injury Costs Recovery Scheme.

Reduction in Bed Occupancy Rates

Delays in access to rehabilitation also results in significant levels of bed occupancy within the NHS. An NHS patient who has suffered an accident which was the fault of another can receive treatment and rehabilitation at no cost to themselves within the private healthcare sector as part of a personal injury claim.

This will assist not only the patient but the trust in reducing bed occupancy rates. Another large cost saving for the NHS.

Partnering with law firms for the benefits of patients should ensure a substantial increase in the amount of money recouped by NHS trusts. The legislation is in place to allow the NHS to recover treatment costs of injured individuals. Research suggests that the level of recovery is very modest at most Trusts, and this could be potentially a multi million pound revenue gain for many NHS Trusts.

What are the benefits to patients of early advice

By offering this service to patients allows them:

  • Access to free legal advice and signposting to relevant charities and organisations.
  • Early financial support to patients and their families through interim payments and continued payments from employers.
  • Focus on rehabilitation and recovery.
  • Early discharge from the NHS.
  • Personal Injury claimants entitlement to early private treatment and increased rehabilitation funded by insurance companies.
  • Patients not waiting on NHS wards for rehabilitation to commence.
  • Access to early privately funded rehabilitation points to better outcomes for severely injured patients.

What are the benefits of legal advice and services to the NHS

Giving patient access to early advice greatly impacts the NHS in the following ways:

  • Increased high quality patient care via provision of advice.
  • More time for medical staff to concentrate on treating patients.
  • Large increases in NHS revenues via NHS Costs Recovery Scheme.
  • NHS Costs Savings:
  • Insurance companies funding rehabilitation.
  • Reduction in NHS Bed Occupancy Rates.