Research by Calvert Reconnections and Exchange Chambers examined the effectiveness of the brain injury recovery process through a series of interviews with the country’s most senior brain injury solicitors.

While 71 per cent said the NHS is unable to provide effective support for brain injured patients, the vast majority (97 per cent) expressed concerns about the lack of residential-based brain injury rehab units in the UK.

Delays and early resistance continue to be claimant lawyers’ main concerns with insurers handling brain injury cases.

Positively, however, solicitors believe greater cooperation by insurers has been the greatest advance over the past three years.

This was placed above advances in treatment and the greater number of rehabilitation units now available, with 56 per cent of respondents reporting improved cooperation so patients gain earlier access to rehabilitation.

Bill Braithwaite QC, trustee of the Lake District Calvert Trust and expert advisor to Calvert Reconnections, said:  “Acute care is often very good but subsequent rehabilitation can be hit and miss, doubtless because of shortage of money. That is why the private and charitable sectors are so important.”

Asked about their experiences over the last 12 months, 88 per cent of claimant solicitors said defence solicitors have failed to respond to their request for rehabilitation within 21 days, while 68 per cent cited a refusal to accept the recommendations of the Initial Needs Assessment.

Seventy per cent believe the Rehabilitation Code should be made compulsory while 81 per cent said the process for securing interim payments under part 25 of the Civil Procedure Rules is too costly and time consuming.

Braithwaite added: “This research suggests that in many cases, lawyers often cannot agree on the most obvious recommendations as a starting point.

“Delay is hugely damaging to anyone who has suffered a brain injury.  Sensible dialogue on both sides would improve the problem as rehabilitation will only work at its best if both sides enter into it voluntarily.”

The report also points to the positive role outdoor activities can play in brain injury rehabilitation.  Solicitors view walking as the most effective activity, followed by fishing, gardening, horse riding, cycling, water sports and orienteering.

“There is considerable medical support for the notion that outdoor activity is helpful in brain injury rehabilitation. The challenge moving forward is to incorporate outdoor activities into rehabilitation plans wherever appropriate,” said Braithwaite.

Calvert Reconnections is an intensive acquired brain injury (ABI) rehabilitation centre combining traditional interdisciplinary clinical therapies with physical activity in the outdoors.

Click here to see the findings in full.