7 Jul 2015

Drink drivers liable for accident costs in Cook Islands

1:20 pm on 7 July 2015

Changes in health policy in the Cook Islands mean that anyone who causes an alcohol-related driving accident is liable for the victim's medical costs.

The new Ministry of Health Patient Referral Policy was passed in cabinet on Tuesday, and takes the burden of health bills off any innocent victim of road incidents.

The new policy says anyone who causes a crash and has to be hospitalised will be required to pay half the costs and any return airfares.

They must also pay for a family escort and medical escort if required.

The policy committee will periodically update clinical guidelines, eligibility criteria and standard forms for transferring patients within the Cook Islands and referrals to New Zealand.

The Health Minister, Nandi Glassie, says the policy is a milestone for health and has come after two years of consultations.