This has been designed to give you a brief snapshot of the NHS debt recovery process. It is by no means an exhaustive list, just a guide to help you understand the order of the process and to aid with decision making. For full in-depth process flows for each stage, please ask the client services team.
Stage 1 – Pre legal Collections
This is a 30-day collection cycle of data cleansing, letters, emails, calls and SMS text messages to ensure all information is accurate. This step increases our chances of success for healthcare debt recovery and is completed at no cost to you. Our online Debt Manager system holds any correspondence we search, which can then be viewed and downloaded by the client.
Stage 2 – End of Collections
At the end of the Collections stage the file will be reviewed and assessed as to its suitability for further action. If the debtor is a sole trader or an individual then the next step would be to send a letter before claim (required to be sent under the Debt Recovery Pre-Action Protocol legislation) The letter before claim gives the debtor a further 30 days to respond and includes attachments including a standard financial statement to be completed by the debtor and an information form. If the Pre-Action Protocol is not followed and Court action is proceeded with then a creditor could be penalised by a Court for non-compliance and could face not being able to recover Court fees or costs from the debtor.
If the debtor is a business entity there is no requirement for a letter before claim and if appropriate Court action can be commenced.
Stage 3 – Legal
This stage consists of the issue of a claim form and the obtaining of judgment for the outstanding NHS healthcare debt. Once a claim form has been submitted, the debtor can decide whether to defend the claim, pay the full amount, or pay what they believe they owe. Defending the claim will escalate the case to a final Court hearing where a Judge will consider both the witness evidence and documentary evidence prior to deciding. Defended matters are not extremely common and it is hoped that pre-legal collections and the letter before claim will draw out any disputes or disagreements prior to Court action.
Stage 4 – Enforcement
When the judgment has been obtained by default you can then consider your enforcement options for the NHS debt recovery. Enforcement methods for NHS debt recovery include: taking control of goods, charging orders, insolvency proceedings, attachment of earnings and a third party debt order. More information on our debt recovery methods can be found here under enforcement.