NHS project to evaluate whether rehabilitation works for the injured and the taxpayer

The NHS Litigation Authority will be assessing the potential benefits of rehabilitation with a pilot research project this year, a move welcomed by insurers.

The authority's solicitor and project manager, Mary Menjou, said the pilot would be launched in April or September. She said hospital risk managers would nominate patients to be evaluated. "We are hoping to get a feel for whether rehabilitation works for patients and taxpayers," said Menjou. She said there would be just less than 100 participants at the start of the project.

President of the Bodily Injury Claims Management Association Norman Cottington said he hoped the study would extend beyond in-patient care and implement effective case management, which he said was key.

Cottington, also part of the IUA-ABI rehabilitation working party, continued to urge the industry to take the issue of rehabilitation seriously.

He said the third code of best practice on rehabilitation, early intervention and medical treatment in personal injury claims would be launched in March but was unhappy with its content. "We were hoping to move forward even further, but in the revised code, very little has changed," Cottington said.

Just last week, the ABI and the TUC called on the government to improve its efforts after a joint consultation exercise found rehabilitation services cost the taxpayer £14bn a year.

Both parties are now demanding more action, saying the results showed the extent to which the UK's system of rehabilitation needed to be improved.