Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, the first doctor to provide emergency treatment to the victim of a road traffic accident is generally entitled to charge a fee:
- A fee may be levied in respect of each person treated
- Mileage is also payable in excess of two miles
The ability to levy a fee under S158 of the Road Traffic Act has been limited to claims by doctors not working in NHS hospitals, as the cost of hospital treatment is recovered from insurers directly by the NHS.
The fee can be levied even if the person driving the vehicle at the time of the accident is on the GP's NHS list.
|For each person treated||£21.30|
|Mileage rate per mile or part mile (over 2 miles)||41 pence|
What is defined as emergency treatment?
S158(1) of the Act defines 'emergency treatment' as 'medical or surgical treatment or examination that is immediately required as a result of bodily injury (including fatal injury) caused by, or arising out of, the use of a motor vehicle on a road'.
The Road Traffic Act is silent as to what ‘immediately required’ is defined as.
Some injuries do not warrant a visit to an emergency department but do warrant the attention of the GP practice.
Under such circumstances where a claim is to be made, the BMA believes that the patient should be seen within one working day.
Our legal advice is that treatment provided at the GP practice can be included in the definition of 'emergency treatment' and therefore attract a fee under the Road Traffic Act.
The person driving the vehicle is responsible for meeting the doctor's professional fee for themselves, their passengers or anyone injured by their vehicle.
All UK motor insurance policies cover such fees and payment of such fees does not constitute any admission of liability.
What is the process to recover my fee?
- Either a verbal or written request should be made to the person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.
- This request must be served upon that person within seven days from when emergency treatment was given.
- It must be signed by the claimant (doctor), stating his or her name and address, the circumstances in which emergency treatment was effected, and confirm that the claimant was the first person to give emergency assistance.
- The request may be served by delivering it to the person using the vehicle or by recorded delivery to the usual or last known address.
- If you can't get the name and address of the person using the vehicle, contact the appropriate chief constable (in practice the 'dealing police officer').
- The fees payable under the Act are recoverable by court proceedings as if they were a simple contract of debt due.