The new proposals for changing the personal injury compensation laws in the UK could have an unforeseen affect on hospitals in Leicester, as they could lose out on cash for patient treatments, experts say.
£1.6 million in costs were recovered on behalf of hospitals in Leicester in the 2010-2011 financial year in order to pay the treatment costs for patients claiming and receiving awards from personal injury claims, according to official figures from the Department of Health. The compensatory damages could have been paid out for accident claims such as falling over on a pavement or an injury suffered at work, while an additional £129,500 was recovered for the Leicestershire County and Rutland NHS Primary Care Trust.
However, in light of the legal aid changes proposed by the government, some fear that the new measures will lead to a decline in the number of individuals who decide to make compensation claims, which would directly lead to a fall in recoverable money by the NHS for the treatment of these claimants. One legal expert employed by law firm Harvey Ingram in Leicester, remarked that the health service currently saves quite a bit of money, as the insurance firm of the defendant is required to pay the costs associated with any NHS treatment
However, said the expert, the NHS will not be able to claim nearly as much money if a smaller number of claims are brought. The health service and individuals are most likely to be affected quite seriously if these changes go ahead, the expert added.
The planned Government reforms are yet to be finalised, according to legal insiders.