A few months back, after taking my daughter to hospital after she sustained a nasty cut following a genuine accident at a school science experiment, I was horrified that I started to receive text messages encouraging me to make a claim and indicating that I might be due around £3,000 compensation. Naturally, I ignored the text – but thought that many families who are hard pressed for cash might make enquiries.
I was more concerned that my personal details had been released by the hospital. So I asked around and while some people told me that a similar thing had happened to them (one woman was texted after her father had fallen on a bus and another when her husband had been injured at work) and their relatives, others reassured me that the claims companies were just randomly texting people.
Then I saw an article in The Metro on 15th June titled “Police and nurses sell crash details”. It said that the Claims Council, representing 120 claims management firms, alleged that police attending accidents and hospital staff can receive significant fees (£100 a time) for passing on the details of the injured to personal injury lawyers.
Whilst it isn’t illegal for individuals to refer accidents to lawyers, it IS illegal for professions charged with protecting personal data. The Association of Chief Police Officers, Unison’s head of nursing and the Nursing and Midwifery Council all said that they would investigate and take action on any reported cases. But I couldn’t help wondering about the reception and administrative staff at hospitals who might not be members of a professional body…