The pandemic has stretched the NHS to its limit, with demand for its services at an all-time high and creating a huge backlog of surgeries and services. However, one often overlooked group requiring significant support is victims of major trauma.
Major trauma survivors rely on under-resourced rehabilitation services as a matter of life and death or improved quality of life. Moving forward, lost rehabilitation will need to be remedied through access to holistic rehabilitation and will need proactive action from lawyers to ensure their clients get the essential treatment they require.
With one in twenty diagnosed with Covid-19 suffering from long-covid, therefore requiring long-term support, both the importance of and pressures on rehabilitation services has greatly increased. With limited capacity, major trauma patients are increasingly being prematurely “discharged to Google”, and therefore need greater community support.
Unfortunately, strains on the system are having real consequences on victims and their families. For example, one of my patients suffered a catastrophic brain injury in 2017 when they were hit by a bus. They lost the ability to look after themselves, their family, and suffered suicidal thoughts. Due to limited NHS capacity throughout the pandemic, therapists and rehabilitation providers that were vital to this individual could not offer the necessary support, with the family left to take over these daunting responsibilities.
The implementation of a holistic rehabilitation programme is an urgent necessity for major trauma victims. Undeniably, lawyers will be vital in this process, and they must utilise their resources and expertise to deliver for their clients. We must also be collaborative with charities, insurers, and other community groups as the pathway for the essential holistic rehabilitation of major trauma survivors’ hinges on various groups working together.
Additionally, considering the recent Sewell report, there is growing awareness of racial disparities in health services and health outcomes faced by the ethnic community. Lawyers must understand the additional barriers to recovery that their clients could be encountering, and work with clinicians and case managers to overcome these inequalities throughout the rehabilitation process.
It will take time for NHS services to recover to normal capacity. So, it is vital that lawyers and other key groups involved in personal injury and recovery unite in making the development of a fair and equal holistic rehabilitation service a priority. The full version of this article was published in Litigation Futures in May 2021. To access the article visit:
Can Major Trauma Group help?
Major Trauma Group is a network of specialist serious injury law firms, experienced in dealing with claims following major trauma. We can provide assistance to clients throughout England and Wales and we are supported by a medical clinician who can advise on rehabilitation, independent financial advisers and case managers who are all highly experienced in this field. If you would like to contact one of our members, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and phone us on 0330 311 2578.