The National Health Service recently celebrated its 70thAnniversary. This has been a good opportunity for us as a society to take stock of where it came from, how important it is and what we want it to be in the future.
In July 1948 the existing systems were nationalised and access to the provision was made free to everyone. Scotland was already well ahead of the curve but in 1939 only half of Scots had a GP. Whilst most healthcare was free, it was so because of charity rather than as of right and there was no safety net.
Many consider the NHS as the backbone of our nation and an embodiment of the principles that we as a society seek to uphold. Fairness, equality, and compassion for all. The NHS provides a safety net that none of us could do without.
As personal injury solicitors, we help clients whose lives have been turned upside down as a result of an accident. Whether it be a joiner who loses his hands in a workplace accident, a sole bread winner who is unable to work again as a result of a road traffic accident or a young person significantly injured in an accident and requiring care for the rest of their lives; the first port of call is the NHS.
We see daily how the care given to our clients by NHS doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and support staff have saved our clients lives, saved their limbs and got them back on their feet physically and mentally.
We aim to take over afterwards and help get the rest of their lives back on track. By obtaining compensation from the at fault party.
We can help an injured person pay the credit card bills that have racked up whilst they were out of work recovering, obtain lost earnings for those who will never work again to allow them to put food on the table and obtain money to pay for carers to allow someone to live independently. We can also ensure the NHS is compensated too.
We are a small part on the road to recovery. The NHS does the lions share and bears significant costs in doing so. Many insurers are keen to perpetrate the myth of a “compensation culture” and imply there is some form of stigma about claiming compensation against someone who has, through their negligence, caused you a loss and injury. Why should your family starve because someone did not do their job properly? Likewise why should the NHS be unable to fund cancer treatments because it has had to pay for A&E care as a result of negligent drivers.
If you claim compensation the at fault party requires to repay the Department of Work and Pensions any benefits paid to the injured person as a result of the accident they caused. Why should the taxpayer foot the bill for someone who can’t stop at a red light? By making a claim that injustice is put right. Similarly the at fault party requires to reimburse the NHS for treatment provided to the injured person.
This is done on a tariff system. Over a million pounds a month is recovered in Scotland alone which equates to salaries for 400 nurses. Why should the NHS budget subsidise those who fail time and time again to comply with workplace Health and Safety Regulations? By claiming compensation, the NHS is compensated. Fairness, equality and compassion must remain at the heart of not only the NHS but our society and we will work tirelessly to ensure it does.
Blog by Alan Calderwood, Solicitor