The recent Insurance Times debate (Question Times, 17 July) was a fairly accurate portrayal of the current state of play of rehabilitation in the personal injury (PI) world.
I would however take issue with the statement that “Rehabilitation….lacked credibility given the lack of data.” There was also discussion about who should carry out the research to produce data and how this work should be funded.
Psychological symptoms and conditions such as Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and travel anxiety following road trauma is very common and may occur in the absence of significant physical injury. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) published its recommendations for the treatment of PTSD in adults and children over three years ago (www.nice.org.uk ).
Moving Minds is an independent psychological services provider and has been offering psychological rehabilitation for claimants with PTSD and allied conditions following road trauma for over six years. We have closely followed what were later codified as the Nice guidelines.
We have recently analysed the results of this approach when we examined a consecutive series of 1,166 referrals from car insurers and personal injury lawyers. All were offered a face-to-face psychological assessment at which the presence of a defined psychological condition was confirmed and its severity determined.
Appropriate, trauma-focused psychological treatment was offered and accepted in 692 cases of psychological conditions following road trauma.
Psychological rehabilitation allowed the patient to return to their pre-accident state in four out of five cases, taking an average of nine sessions of trauma-focused psychological therapy.
There were no significant side effects and corresponding high customer satisfaction. The average cost, under £2,000, was smaller than the lowest amount currently being awarded by the courts for untreated minor PTSD, so demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of psychological rehab in both therapeutic and financial terms.
Those involved in PI and psychological rehab can no longer claim that “the evidence does not exist”. Unawareness of the benefits of a Nice recommended treatment is not a valid defence for withholding or not offering this treatment.