Lawyer Monthly - July 2022

What are someof the most interestingcases JJ&Ahaveworkedon in recentmonths? There have been a number of cases in which Jane James and Associates have been instructed and recent judgements have been of interest, in particular the case of Martin v Salford Royal NHS Trust. In brief, the main issue between the parties was around the level of funding and care available to the Claimant under Section 117 of the Mental Health Act. The Claimant had a long psychiatric history, with several acute hospital admissions. JJ&A were instructed on behalf of the Claimant and were successful in submitting evidence at Court, in that the provision of care from Section 117 of the Mental Health Act was insufficient to meet the Claimant’s substantial additional needs, which were caused by the Defendant’s negligence. The Defendant expert was unable to convince the judge that the Claimant’s current Section 117 care package adequately met all of her reasonable needs, in particular those relating to personal care. JJ&A have also assisted the Court where a Claimant was found to be fundamentally dishonest in exaggerating his personal injury claim. JJ&A were instructed on behalf of the Defendant and our expert was complimented on being very thorough and fair in considering all the evidence by the presiding judge. The Claimant’s care expert was criticised for ignoringmedical evidence and her inexplicable reassessment of the Claimant mid-trial without permission from the Court. The judge’s assessment of damages was understood to be the highest assessment of damages in a claim involving serious injuries where fundamental dishonesty arguments were successful. What typeof client do youworkwithmost frequently? For over 35 years, JJ&Ahavebeen instructed by both Claimant and Defendant solicitors. We provide care and occupational therapy reports for adults and children who have sustained life-changing injuries through clinical negligence and personal injury. In the past 10 years, we have been instructed by clinical negligence lawyers in relation to providing breach of duty and causation reports. Our team of experts cover the areas of general nursing, mental health nursing, practice nursing, accident and emergency nursing, minor injuries, manual handling, tissue liability, community care provision including nursing and care homes, and occupational therapy. Recently, haveany developments impacted your field? If so, please expand. The most significant impact for all those involved in personal injury litigation has been the rapidly increasing cost of care. This is driven by a number of factors but is primarily due to the increasing rates of pay, along with a significant shortage of skilled and experienced support workers. The impact of COVID-19, and to a lesser degree the loss of some EU support workers, have 71 JUL 2022 | WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM EXPERT WITNESS essentially been the straws that broke the camel’s back. However, the perfect storm was brewing long before this, as the domiciliary care market struggled to establish a resilient and skilled workforce. As a whole, the industry has been historically constrained by the contracting values of local authorities, where a race to the bottom on price forced a relatively young market sector to be severely restricted on development opportunities, both within organisations and the staff group as a whole. The steady withdrawal of many local community services for older people (for example, day centres and luncheon clubs) during the 80s and 90s, along with NHS strategies of regionalising inpatient care, resulting in the loss of many small local hospitals which served the older population well, have also contributed to the current and unprecedented demand for community care like never before. The current situation within the domiciliary care market is still bleak, with many providers unable to provide a full service. This is more apparent in rural areas and areas where there is no appetite for employment in the care sector. In order to address these challenges, providers are now stepping up recruitment drives, with much more attractive employment terms and conditions. In particular, they are moving away from the minimum wage to a living wage, and in many areas this has seen an increase in pay of over 20%. Whilst this may seem high to some, it is worth noting that the starting point was very low, with many staff on zero contracted hours and paid minimal travel time and expenses. These new rates of pay and improved terms and conditions are starting to encourage applicants. Recruitment, whilst still very challenging, is showing some improvement, particularly with rates of pay now in and around £12.00 - £15.00 per hour. It is worth noting that the GMB (Trade Union) is seeking an increase in minimum wage for carers to £15.00 per hour. The most significant impact for all those involved in personal injury litigation has been the rapidly increasing cost of care.

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