Employers face financial liability of accidents at work

Employers
who are responsible for causing accident or injury to others could be liable
for the costs of any NHS hospital treatment the injured person may need.

Following
recommendations from the Law Commission, the Government has today published a
consultation document looking at extending the system of recovery of NHS costs
from road traffic accidents to all personal injury claims.

This
extended scheme could raise £220m a year for NHS hospitals, equal to employing
5,600 newly-qualified nurses or carrying out almost 30,000 extra hip
replacement operations.

Consultation
proposals include:


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


the amount of personal injury compensation not being reduced to take account of
the NHS costs;


NHS recovery costs limited to the cost of any hospital treatment and associated
ambulance costs – not primary care (family doctor) costs;


all money recovered being passed direct to hospitals concerned in the claim to
spend as they wish; and


the scheme being administered by the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) on behalf
of Health Secretary Alan Milburn and Scottish and Welsh ministers.

Health
Minister David Lammy said: "Wrongdoers should meet the costs of their
actions in full. Extending the recovery of NHS costs to all personal injury
claims will remove the burden from general taxpayers of subsidising part of the
costs of a wrongdoer.

"This
scheme will not introduce any more regulations for business but it is
unacceptable that taxpayers have to pay for the medical treatment of someone
injured at work simply because employers fail to take adequate steps to protect
their workforce.

"By
having to bear the cost of treating those injured in the workplace employers,
for example, will have another incentive to reduce risks to their workforce and
the public at large."

TUC
deputy general secretary Brendan Barber said: "We welcome this
contribution to the debate about how Britain pays the price of workplace injury
and illness. We need to balance the contributions of victims, employers and
taxpayers. Making the perpetrator pay would increase the incentive for
prevention."

By Paul Nelson

Comments are closed.