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Wednesday 31 August 2016

Organ Donation Awareness Week - 5th - 11th September 2016

National Organ Donation Week runs from 5 September – 11 September 2016.

The theme this year is “Turn an End into a Beginning.”

The campaign will be focusing on encouraging individuals to sign the Organ Donor Register and to discuss their decision about organ donation with those closest to them.


To understand more about the “Gift of Life” go to –     


Wednesday 2 March 2016

UK named as the world's whiplash capital as car-shunt claims make up 80% of all personal injury requests – more than the US

  • We've overtaken the US where 65% of claims are for whiplash trauma 
  • Two in five who had a crash contacted by compensation firm in 24 hours
  • More than half of drivers say they don't know how claims companies accessed their details

78 per cent of all UK minor injury claims were made by people looking for whiplash-related compensation following a car shunt – a percentage that's greater than the United States, which is synonymous with high claim rates.  
But it's not solely motorists the insurer points the finger at.
Focussing only on drivers who had an accident in the last two years, LV Insurance  investigation gave a damning report on the lengths that claims management companies go to in order to persuade drivers to seek compensation.

According to its study, the average driver receives five calls or texts following a crash, with most told that there is ‘money waiting for them'. 
Some even said CMC's pressure tactics and quick-reaction strategies encouraged them to make claims.
And one in eight said they were contacted before they reported the accident to their insurer, suggesting that the trade in accident victims’ data swings into action within minutes of an incident occurring.
LV’s research found that half of UK drivers involved in a collision received a call or text telling them to file for compensation – 44 per cent of these motorists were contacted within 24 hours of the crash. 
Even more concerning was that 57 per cent of people receiving calls from claims management firms had no idea how their details had been sourced.

According to Government estimations, fraudulent whiplash injury claims cost UK insurers £2bn a year.
However, a new crackdown announced in the Autumn Statement, abolishing the right to cash compensation for minor whiplash injuries, should save motorists around £50 each on their insurance premiums, according to Chancellor George Osborne.
LV said it now wants the Government to act quickly and comprehensively on implementing new recommendations made by the Insurance Fraud Taskforce because fraudsters are already finding ways around the fresh rulings.
Martin Milliner, claims director at LV insurance, said: 'For years it’s been a game of cat and mouse between the insurance industry and fraudsters – when what we need is a multi-pronged solution that will benefit the consumer once and for all.
'Government makes one change to the system and the fraudsters find a way around it – meaning further action is needed and fraud persists. 
'Already we are noticing a rise in rehabilitation fraud, highlighting the need for swift implementation of the Autumn Statement reforms. 
































Figures provided by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (December 2015)

'The more time it takes to implement changes, the easier it makes it for fraudsters to find another loophole, hitting the pocket of the honest consumer.
'We would like to see a quick and comprehensive response from Government to implement all the Insurance Fraud Taskforce’s recommendations. 
'LV has already confirmed it would pass on all savings from
the Autumn Statement whiplash crackdown to consumers – we now need these further recommendations to be implemented urgently so customers can further benefit sooner rather than later.' 
Drivers in Liverpool are the most likely to make a personal injury claim following a road accident, research has found previously.
A massive 55 per cent of Merseyside motorists involved in a shunt filed for compensation in the last year, according to stats released by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries last month.
While Liverpudlians are the most likely to make claims after being in a car accident, it wasn't the only North West city with a high claim rate – something the IFoA linked to the number of claims management companies in the region.
It's the second successive year that Liverpool has topped the most-likely-to-claim list, though it's not alone, being joined at the top by five other cities in the same area – Oldham, Manchester, Bolton, Wigan and Blackburn. 

Friday 15 January 2016

Families saying no to donation results in missed transplant opportunities for UK patients

More than 500 families in the UK have said no to organ donation taking place since 1 April 2010 despite knowing or being informed their relative was on the NHS Organ Donor Register and wanted to donate. These family refusals have resulted in an estimated 1,200 people missing out on a potentially life-saving transplant.

Family refusals result in missed transplant opportunities
NHS Blood and Transplant has released the figures to draw attention to the fact that family refusals mean that people either wait longer for a transplant or die on the transplant list.  There are currently 6,578* people waiting for an organ transplant across the UK. When a family says no to donating, someone waiting for a transplant may miss out on their only opportunity for a transplant. Around 1,000 people die in need of a transplant across the UK each year.

Although registering a decision to donate on the NHS Organ Donor Register is a legally valid decision to donate your organs, in practice if your family strongly feel that they cannot support donation, despite staff answering their questions and concerns, donation doesn’t go ahead.  That is why it’s vital to tell your family that you want to be a donor and to register your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Is overriding acceptable?
Some families refuse to support a relative’s decision to be an organ donor in spite of the fact that the majority of people find the idea of someone overriding a decision to donate unacceptable.  73% of respondents to a survey carried out by NHS Blood and Transplant said they thought your next of kin shouldn’t be able to overrule your decision to donate after you have died, whereas only 11% thought it was acceptable to do so.

Steps NHS Blood and Transplant is exploring
The organisation, which is responsible for the NHS Organ Donor Register and for matching and allocating donor organs, is now exploring whether there are further steps it could take when approaching families to ensure more potential donors’ decisions are honoured by their relatives. This includes making clear to families that consent or authorisation has already been provided by the individual themselves.
The relationship hospital staff build up with families at this time is very important, particularly given that the family members of potential donors provide a lot of important information about their relative’s medical, travel and behavioural history before donation takes place. 
NHS Blood and Transplant is looking at ways to reduce the number of families who feel unable to support their relative’s decision to be a donor.  Ideas being explored include:

providing families with a leaflet that explains that consent (or authorisation in Scotland) rests with the person

  • who has died and not the family left behind. These leaflets have been produced by the Human Tissue Authority for Wales, Northern Ireland and England.
  • continuing to ask a potential donor’s family to help assess the risk of their relative donating organs (for example by providing information about their loved one’s medical and travel history), but not actually asking the next of kin to confirm consent or authorisation. Consent or authorisation from the next of kin is not required in law if someone had registered a decision to donate on the NHS Organ Donor Register, if they had expressed a decision in life to donate or if their consent can be deemed in Wales.  The current way of approaching families, and paperwork NHS Blood and Transplant asks families to complete, may be adding to a family’s confusion at a stressful time and leading them to think they need to make a decision themselves. 
  • asking families to sign a document confirming their reasons for overriding their relative’s decision in the hope this might help a family to discuss and consider their relative’s decision and hopefully honour it.  In Scotland families are already required to complete a retraction form to record why they overturned a relative’s decision to donate.  A similar form could be rolled out elsewhere across the UK.
    Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We understand that families are approached about donation at a very challenging time and that it can come as a surprise to find out a relative had made a decision to donate.  This can make it difficult for families to support donation going ahead and their relative saving lives.
    “We want to draw attention to the fact that while most families approached about donation support their relative’s decision to donate as recorded on the Organ Donor Register, a number of families each year override a previously made donation decision.  We hope that by raising this issue we will prompt more families to talk about donation and reduce the number of families overriding their relative’s decision to donate.
    “Isn’t it important that the dying wishes of as many people as possible are honoured by their families so more lives can be saved and transformed through transplantation? We know that donor families take enormous pride from knowing that their relative helped others. We also hear that some families have gone on to regret overriding a relative’s decision to donate.
    “We think our proposed changes would make the existing legal situation clearer to families and hopefully help them support their relative’s decision.  But I urge you to act too if you want to be a donor.  Register a decision to donate on the NHS Organ Donor Register and talk to those closest to you about donation. The more we all talk about organ donation, the less ambiguity and room for misunderstanding there will be. So please talk to your relatives and tell them that should the time come, you want them to support your decision to save lives after your death.”
    To sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit
    or call 0300 123 23
    *UK Active transplant waiting list as of 7th January 2016.
    NHS Blood and Transplant is currently exploring how it can reduce family overrides, as across the UK the number of people that donated organs fell for the first time in 11 years in 2014/15.  Each year, only around 5,000 of the half a million people who die across the UK die in circumstances where they are able to donate their organs.  In 2014/15, 1,282 people donated organs after their deaths, resulting in 3,341 deceased donor organ transplants.  It is important that the organisation continues to work with the rest of the NHS and families to increase donation so more lives can be saved through transplantation.
    Legal situation :
    The following legislation regulates organ donation across the UK :
    England and Northern Ireland: Human Tissue Act 2004
    At the heart of the law is the principle that the decision to use your organs for transplantation rests first and foremost with you.  If your decision to donate, or not donate, is registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register, then as long as no one forced you to make the decision, you were aware of your actions and had the information you needed, your decision is legally valid.
    Wales – Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013
    At the heart of the law is the principle that the decision to use your organs for transplantation rests first and foremost with you.  Unless you have registered or expressed a decision not to donate your organs after your death, you will be regarded as having no objection to donation.  Your consent will be deemed to have been given unless you fall into one of the exemptions or if your family and friends can show that you did not want to be a donor.  If you have registered a decision to donate, there is no legal right for your family to override your consent; however families are still involved in discussions about organ donation.
    Scotland - Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006
    Any adult, or child aged 12 and over, who is able to make their own decisions can give authorisation for their organs or tissue to be donated. If you want to donate your organs or tissue after you die, you can add your name to the NHS Organ Donor Register. Or you can let someone close to you know your decision – simply telling someone counts as a form of authorisation under the Act.
    Leaflet produced by the Scottish Government to set out the legal situation in Scotland:

    Populus survey
    Survey of 2,072 UK adults carried out by Populus on behalf of NHS Blood and Transplant.  People were asked: Do you think that after you’ve died your next of kin should be able to overrule your decision to be an organ donor.
    218 (11%) responded yes, 1,519 (73%) responded no and 335 (16%) responded I don’t know.
    What do you think?

Tuesday 22 December 2015

The Government has responded to a recent petition – Keep the small claims track limit for personal injury claims at £1,000.00? Because most minor injury cases are straightforward enough to be brought without the need for legal representation, making them suitable for consideration in the small claims track?

Government responded:

The Government is concerned about the number of whiplash claims and the impact on premiums. Therefore we announced new measures to control costs, including raising the small claims limit to £5,000.

Raising the personal injury small claims limit will remove the ability of the claimant to recover legal costs associated with such claims by transferring them to the small claims court. The personal injury small claims limit has been set at £1,000 for nearly 25 years and the Government believes it is both justifiable and proportionate to increase the limit to £5,000.

In addition, the reforms will remove the right to claim for damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for minor whiplash injuries. However, people who suffer more serious injuries will continue to be entitled to such compensation. Compensation for other areas of loss such as the costs of medical treatment or for loss of earnings will remain available to all claimants.
These reforms will end the cycle in which innocent car owners pay higher premiums to cover false or unnecessary claims by others and the Government expects insurers to pass savings of £40-£50 per average motor insurance policy on to consumers. Two companies have already said publicly that they will pass all the savings back to consumers.

The Government will consult on the detail of the proposals early in 2016 including on any safeguards considered necessary. A detailed impact assessment will be published alongside the consultation.


The number of reported road traffic accidents has fallen from approximately 190,000 in 2006 to around 146,000 in 2014(1)(a reduction of over 20%). However, at the same time, the number of road traffic personal injury claims has risen from around 520,000 in 2006/07 to 760,000 in 2014/15(2)(an increase of around 50%).


The Government is determined to crack down on false or unnecessary personal injury claims and the compensation culture. The overall costs of these claims far outweigh the value to genuine claimants of relatively small amounts of compensation.

In April 2013 the Government implemented significant reforms to control the costs of civil litigation through provisions in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. This reduced the costs of litigation whilst enabling appropriate cases to be pursued.

Continuing concerns relating to the number and cost of whiplash claims and the impact they were having on the price of motor insurance premiums led to a further phase of reform. On 1 October 2014 the Government reduced and fixed the cost of initial whiplash medical reports, introduced an expectation that there will be a single report and banned experts who write the reports from also treating the claimants.
Further changes meant that from 6 April 2015, solicitors, medical experts and medical reporting organisations must use, and be registered on, the new MedCo Portal. The new system brings greater independence and breaks the financial links between the solicitors who commission medical reports and the medical experts and organisations who provide them.

In addition, from 1 June 2015 claimant lawyers must undertake a ‘previous claims’ check on clients before accepting a claim; and from early 2016 a robust new accreditation scheme for medical experts will be introduced which means that any experts must be accredited with MedCo or they will be removed from the system.

Changes to the small claims limit
When considering whether a case is suitable for allocation to the small claims track, the court will take into account a number of factors, the main one being the financial value of the case. Generally, the small claims track is for claims with a financial value of not more than £10,000, but not for personal injury claims and housing disrepair claims where the limit is set at £1,000. Claims above these limits are generally dealt with in the fast-track if valued up to £25,000 and the multi-track if they are above £25,000. The main difference between the small claims track and the fast-track is that in the small claims track their own costs are generally borne by each side, whereas legal costs are generally recoverable by the winning party in the fast-track.

Claimants are not precluded from engaging legal representation, but the small claims track is intended for cases which could be brought without lawyers. However, the £1,000 limit for personal injury cases in the small claims track was set in 1991 and has not been changed for nearly 25 years, so a revision is long overdue. The Government will launch a consultation in the New Year on the detail of this and the measure to remove general damages for low level whiplash claims.