Headlines: September 16th, 2002

The NHS is to take another step towards operating like any other commercial business – in recovering from employers the costs of treating someone injured at work.The government has published a consultation document looking at extending the system of recovery of NHS costs from road traffic accidents to all personal injury claims – such as where an employer is liable for the accident or injury.

The move is following a recommendation from the Law Commission and could raise 220 pounds million a year for NHS hospitals, equal to employing 5,600 newly qualified nurses or carrying out almost 30,000 extra hip replacement operations.

Key proposals:

– payment of NHS costs being met by the person or organisation paying compensation, not the person receiving treatment

– compensation not reduced to take account of the NHS costs

– NHS recovery costs limited to the cost of hospital and ambulance costs

– not primary care

– all money recovered passed direct to hospitals to spend as they wish

– scheme administered by the compensation Recovery Unit (CRU).

The Government says the move will act as a further incentive for employers to reduce risks to workers. The Association of British Insurers warns that the proposals could add 7 per cent to employers’ insurance premiums at a time of economic pressure.

Copies of ‘The recovery of NHS costs in cases involving personal injury compensation’ are available at www.doh.gov.uk/consultations/