The majority of brain injury solicitors are unconvinced that the government’s new ABI strategy will lead to a step change in the care and support available to people living with brain injury.
The research, by barristers Exchange Chambers and brain injury rehabilitation centre Reconnections, also highlights how the NHS lacks the resources to provide effective support for brain injured patients and casts serious doubt on whether family members always act in the best interests of their brain injured relatives.
The headline findings are as follows:
- 78% of brain injury solicitors do not believe the government’s new ABI strategy will lead to a step change in the care and support available to people living with ABI.
- 89% of brain injury solicitors believe the NHS is under resourced and unable to provide effective support for brain injured patients.
- 59% of brain injury solicitors have experienced a situation where the family has not acted in the best interests of their brain injured relative.
- 94% of brain injury solicitors believe family members of those with ABI require greater support.
- 62% of brain injury solicitors play an active role in the development of their client’s rehab plan, including the choice of rehab unit.
- 59% of brain injury solicitors do not believe there are enough residential-based rehabilitation units / programmes in the UK.
Commenting on the findings, Bill Braithwaite KC, Head of Exchange Chambers said:
“This research confirms the widely-held view that the NHS is unable to provide effective support for brain injured patients. Acute care is often very good but subsequent rehabilitation can be hit and miss, doubtless because of a shortage of money. That is why the private and charitable sectors are so important.
“Solicitors are also unconvinced about the government’s ABI strategy. I share their scepticism. I’ve never thought that the government had anything useful to contribute beyond the acute and sub-acute treatment following catastrophic brain injury, which is why I’ve spent my life pursuing compensation for those who need it.”
Commenting on the development of the client’s rehabilitation programme, Bill Braithwaite KC added:
“By working collaboratively with the case manager, solicitors have a hugely important part to play in the client’s rehabilitation plan. In order to do so, they need a good understanding of the clinical position, the type of rehab needed, the range of units available, and their vastly different services.”
Referring to the actions of family members, Bill Braithwaite KC added:
“I can certainly think of examples where families have not acted in the best interests of the claimant, but it is the exception rather than the rule in my experience.
“Of course, sometimes persuading families to see what are the best interests does need time and experience, and a strong element of advocacy, because some of their decisions are really difficult.”
178 solicitors took part in the research.