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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 18:35 GMT
NHS plan to claim treatment costs
Ambulance costs would be among those at the centre of claims
NHS plans to reclaim treatment costs in personal injury cases could raise more than 20m a year, according to deputy health minister Lewis Macdonald.

A new scheme is to be set up which would target those deemed responsible, through personal injury compensation payouts, for causing injury to others.

Ambulance and hospital treatment costs would be at the centre of claims.

The plan, which is backed by the BMA in Scotland, has prompted objections from businesses and insurance firms.

Mr Macdonald told the parliament's health committee that a similar scheme already existed to recover the costs of treating the victims of road traffic accidents.

'Injured party'

He said: "Once the scheme is fully bedded in, it is estimated that it will generate income upwards of 20m a year for NHS in Scotland.

"The recovered costs will be paid to the NHS boards responsible for the management of the hospitals which treated the injured party or to the Scottish Ambulance Service, as the case may be."

He added that most of the compensators would be insurance companies which already operate throughout the UK.

Mr Macdonald said the NHS Scotland injury costs recovery scheme would operate in tandem with a similar scheme for England and Wales.

It would be administered by the compensation recovery unit within the Department of Work and Pensions on Scottish ministers' behalf.

It would seem reasonable for the NHS to try and recover those costs it can which are caused by negligence and acts of omission by employers
Heather Cook

The health committee agreed to back new regulations which will allow the scheme to be set up in January next year.

Heather Cook, head of the BMA's hospital services division, said: "It would seem reasonable for the NHS to try and recover those costs it can which are caused by negligence and acts of omission by employers."

However, the organisation also voiced concerns over the potential impact on relations between workers and employers.

"Some large companies will routinely challenge the injured employee about their role in the accident," Ms Cook said.

Businesses and insurance firms have expressed opposition to the proposal because of the potential impact on employers' liability compulsory insurance.

CBI Scotland said, while it agreed with the fundamental principal, the process to find out who was to blame for accidents would cost businesses time and money.

Assistant Director Alan Mitchell said: "Our big concern is that this is another stealth tax on businesses."

Lawyers 'may hinder compensation'
11 Jul 06 |  Business
NHS compensation pay-outs top 8m
17 Jun 05 |  Scotland

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