Hospitals treating Mid Ulster’s road accident victims paid £millions by insurers

Car accident
Car accident

Hospitals treating road accident victims from across Mid Ulster have recovered up to £4.8m from insurers since 2012.

The high cost reflects the grim toll of injuries sustained by motorists on local roads, which are among the most dangerous in Northern Ireland.

In fact, the death toll on local roads has risen in recent years, after years of decline.

Last year, the hard-pressed Northern Trust, which covers the Cookstown and Magherafelt Districts, generated £1.29m mostly from reclaiming the insurance companies’ cash.

Insurance companies already factor in potential NHS claims whenever they set their premiums.

The right to claim back the cost of treating road crash victims pre-dates even the NHS, however, excess red tape has hampered hospitals from recovering the money in the past.

Failure to charge for crash care costs the NHS millions a year, it is estimated.

Other sources of revenue for local hospitals in the Northern Trust area, included payments from private patients, which has amounted to a £576k windfall over the last three years.

However, the trust is not listed as earning any money from charitable donations and legacies, in stark comparison to the neighbouring Southern Trust, which received the second highest number of donations in the North, after Belfast Health Trust.

Each year, Northern Ireland’s health trusts, which have had to make hard-hitting cuts to services, receive generous donations and legacies from members of the public.

The Southern Trust also made £23m from client contributions to social care, £601k from private patients and £160k from Great Britain and Republic of Ireland income.

Across the UK, some leading hospitals stand accused of exploiting the controversial lifting of the cap on the number of private patients they can treat to increase their income as part of a “creeping privatisation” of the NHS.

The Mid Ulster Hospital has suffered a number of cuts over the past number of years, and the trust is under pressure to make more budget savings in the coming year.