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GPs to consider stopping out-of-hours work unless indemnity is paid

Local GP leaders are planning to vote on whether GPs should withdraw their out-of-hours services if the Government does not directly reimburse their indemnity costs.

The motion to be debated at next week's English LMCs Conference proposes that the BMA's GP Committee surveys GPs to consider ‘withdrawing their out-of-hours commitment if direct reimbursement for their out-of-hours indemnity is not provided’.

The motion says this is in response to the rising cost of medical indemnity in England which is ‘making general practice unsustainable and adding to the workforce crisis in England’.

As it stands, the Government is repeating a scheme which sees GPs covered for the cost of additional indemnity required to do additional out-of-hours shifts this winter only.

The conference will also debate a motion to ensure inflationary reimbursement for indemnity costs, such as was negotiated for this year's GP contract, are 'recurrent' and paid 'directly to the individual GP or practice that is paying the indemnity'. As it stands, practices are reimbursed for costs but individuals are not.

It is already GPC policy to demand that the Government agrees to reimburse in full their indemnity fees, following a vote at the UK LMCs Conference in May this year.

The Government earlier this month announced a state-backed GP indemnity scheme, details of which are yet to be outlined but which it said would cover ‘providers of GP services’ including out-of-hours providers.

But as Pulse later reveald, the Department of Health cannot yet guarantee that GP indemnity costs will be brought down by the scheme, saying that this ‘will depend on negotiations’.

It comes as BMA’s GP Committee warned earlier this year that increases in indemnity costs were set to make the profession ‘untenable’, especially related to changes to the size of compensation payouts.

Pulse delivered a letter to the Department of Health in September signed by more than 300 GPs calling on the Government to ‘fully reimburse the cost of GP indemnity’.

Motion in full

AGENDA COMMITTEE TO BE PROPOSED BY GATESHEAD AND SOUTH TYNESIDE: That conference believes that the rising cost of medical indemnity in England is making general practice unsustainable and adding to the workforce crisis in England, and calls upon GPC England to:

(i) ensure that inflationary reimbursements made by NHS England are recurrent and made directly to the individual GP or practice that is paying the indemnity

(ii) demand that the government must introduce a system of indemnity comparable with secondary care which covers all GPs on the performers list and all NHS GP practice staff.

(iii) survey GPs to consider withdrawing their out-of-hours commitment if direct reimbursement for their out-of-hours indemnity is not provided 

Source: BMA

Readers' comments (6)

  • Can somebody explain why anyone does out-of-hours? Are they mad, desperate or both?

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  • I did an OOH session last weekend. It is easy. No e-mails, letters, tasks etc. One patient at a time with one problem. Any thing else then "See your GP in the morning". Locally a lot of young docs see that and choose it as main career.

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  • AlanAlmond

    ‘GPs to consider’ not doing OOHs work?
    GPs already aren’t doing OOHs work!
    It’s just our leaders who haven’t got the balls to explicitly state this.
    Over and over are leaders are behind events and reality.
    For gods sake get on and vote ...it’s already happened. Get off your arse LMC and make the position official.
    The leaders of our profession live in a parallel fantasy world. People leave, retire, emigrate. Only the lucky can recruit. And guess what none of this is recognised in our official position. We appear to be lead by a cosy bunch of well off idiots who don’t give a s**t about the lives of the bulk of their colleagues.

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  • I stopped doing OOH completely. It's not the indemnity it's the pay. £80 an hour for a weekend is pathetic, and my local one is one of the higher paying ones too. I had an in hours roofing contractor round and he wanted to charge £180+ vat an hour just to give an estimate.

    I can get over £100 ph + pension in hours, why would I take a pay cut and work unsociable hours?

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  • I have already stopped OOH and locums as it is not worth it.

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  • I just negotiate my rates like airlines do. If I get called short notice to save the clinic when their other zero hours committed GP has gone off sick, they must pay 200%. Would you get a promotional fare booking on the day before Christmas? If they dawdle and try and find a cheap doctor and come back to me, the price has gone up. They soon learn.

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