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Legal Advice Surgery - The Background
Since May 2012 Salford Royal has offered a free legal advice service to all seriously injured patients on wards CCU1, CCU2, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B8, C2, H5, H6 and L1. This includes all patients who have suffered head and spinal injuries or serious orthopaedic injuries. It doesn’t usually include other patients, for example, those who are in hospital because of an illness or have suffered a stroke or burst aneurysm, although this is under review.
The advice is given by experienced solicitors employed by Potter Rees Dolan who specialise in helping seriously injured patients and their families. Please take a look at the profiles of Hugh Potter, Jeanne Evans, Gary Herbert, Nicola Mepstead, Helen Shaw and Peter Renshaw for more information.
The Legal Advice Surgery was created to fill the gap left by the reduced state funding for Law Centres and Citizen Advice Bureaux. The Board at Salford Royal Trust recognised the need for seriously injured patients and their families to receive specialist advice on such matters as employment, finances and welfare benefit entitlements at a most crucial time.
The advice is available free to injured patients whether or not there is any claim for compensation. Since it started, hundreds of patients and their families have benefited from free legal support at a time of crisis and when they most need it.
Your advice was very helpful and gives us a good basis to start – we did find your input very helpful. On a personal note, what a wonderful service you offer to people in need with limited ability to sort these things out – Miss J
Jeanne has provided fantastic support and advice to date. I do not know how we would have managed without her – Mr JK
Even though my case is yet to be settled, the overall service is excellent – Mr NMc
How to use it
Information leaflets about the Legal Surgery are freely available on the wards. Please tell us if you want to use the free legal service. You (or a family member on your behalf) can:
- E-mail us direct or telephone 0800 027 2557 or 0161 237 5888 and ask for Hugh Potter or his PA; or, if you prefer,
- Ask your nominated nurse or the ward co-ordinator to contact us on your behalf.
We will come to see you at Salford Royal (usually at our regular Legal Surgeries held on the wards every Tuesday and Friday afternoons) or at home, if that is more appropriate.
Very importantly, there are strict procedures and protocols in place with the Trust to ensure we only see those patients/family members who wish to be seen. These protocols also apply to patients who may be vulnerable. For example, those who may be unable to understand advice (because of the continuing effects of a head injury, for instance) or who are minors, cannot be seen (even if they request it) without the presence of a responsible adult.
If a patient may have a claim for compensation, we will give you the Trust’s approved list of solicitors as soon as we can so you have the choice of solicitors to instruct.
Anne and Hugh are excellent in their approach towards my son and myself. Also they explain everything in great detail. They keep me and my son included in everything – really happy – Mrs AMc
I found it easy to talk to the solicitors involved in my husband’s case and received positive advice from both solicitors – Mrs D
I received a very personalised service with prompt replies to any matters I need to discuss – Mr S
Examples of typical cases dealt with by the Legal Surgery at Salford
We will give you a wide range of advice. Knowing your legal rights can make a real difference and we can help you enforce those. All of the following are actual cases dealt with by the Legal Surgery where we have been able to provide practical help, assistance, guidance and advice that has made a real difference to patients’ lives:
- Helped the wife of a head injured (and unconscious) patient pay her bills out of her husband’s bank account.
- Found that the partner of a head injured person was entitled to receive £50,000 under his home contents insurance policy.
- Helped a wife whose husband was unconscious and whose employer was threatening to stop his wages. We wrote to his employers and insisted that they continue to pay him.
- Advised head injured patients about receiving financial grants from the Headway Hardship Fund.
- Advised about Welfare Benefits including PIP of up to £139.75 per week, Employment Support Allowance of up to £186.90 per week and Carers Allowance (paid to the carer) of up to £62.10 per week
- Helped the mother of a young man whose college wanted to know why he hadn’t attended his lectures for a week and whose grant was under threat.
- Supported a lady who had terminal spinal cancer and latterly her family after she sadly passed away over a six month period in securing a lump sum payment under an insurance policy, despite the fact that the insurance policy had been cancelled by her, ensuring some financial security for her adult children
Please note that although we can advise you through our Legal Advice Surgery about many things, we cannot advise you about claims that you might have against Salford Royal itself although we will signpost you to other support organisations/advisors as appropriate.
If you have used the Legal Surgery, we would welcome your feedback so we can make sure the service we give is as good as it can be. Please complete the short Satisfaction Questionnaire.
Other sources of help
We work closely with charities which offer support for patients:
BASIC – Brain and Spinal Injury Centre
554 Eccles New Road
Tel: 0161 707 6441
HELPLINE: 0870 750 0000
The Heaton Centre,
Telephone: 07733 320 049
MYA 65-67 Hanover Street
Telephone: 07967 770 772
2 Trueman Place
Telephone: 01908 604191