The government must take a "joined up" approach and put rehabilitation "at the top of the agenda", Lord Hunt has warned.

Speaking at the Case management Society's (CMSUK) annual conference, Lord Hunt, senior partner at law firm Beachcroft Wansbroughs and president of CMSUK, said a "cross-party effort" was needed to dramatically improve the way in which the UK rehabilitates accident victims.

He said: "Ministers owe it to themselves and to the country to get this right. We have seen piecemeal development of services across the NHS and the private sector, but no consistent strategy.

"In rehabilitation, as in all too many services, there is very much a postcode lottery in operation across much of the country.

"It has been too much caught up in the crossfire between those who have been injured, insurers and the legal profession," he said.

"Rapid and appropriate rehabilitation must be our goal. Over 80% of injuries related to road traffic accidents are soft tissue injuries - injuries that respond well to swift, targeted treatment. That treatment should be forthcoming - and quickly."

He added: "If the system stands in the way of that early and appropriate treatment, then nothing less than radical systemic change will suffice.

"There must be a big role for case managers in this new world, treating individuals as individuals and ensuring that each and every injured person receives the treatment he or she needs and deserves."