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GPs go forth

​Wales to introduce government-backed GP indemnity next year

The Welsh Government has announced plans to introduce a state-backed GP indemnity scheme next year.

It follows already public plans for a Government-backed scheme in England to protect GPs against rising indemnity costs.

The Welsh Government has said the scheme will be ‘aligned as far as possible’ with proposals for England to ensure GPs in Wales will not be at a disadvantage.

GP leaders have said the move is a ‘very important step’ forward for general practice.

Health secretary Vaughan Gething said the new scheme will cover all contracted GPs and other health professionals working in NHS general practice from April 2019.

The specifics of the scheme will be ironed out over the coming months by the BMA, medical defence organisations, Welsh Risk Pool, Department of Health and Social Services and the Welsh Government.

Tackling spiralling indemnity costs has been one of the Welsh BMA’s top priorities as it negotiates a new contract.

Last week Dai Lloyd, shadow cabinet secretary for public health and social services and previously a GP in Swansea, told Welsh Assembly members that the high cost of medical indemnity insurance was putting GPs off practising, especially those who want to do part-time or locum work later in their careers. 

Mr Gething said introducing the same scheme in Wales as in England would prevent GP recruitment and cross border activity from being adversely affected by different schemes operating in England and Wales.

He said: ‘We have listened to GPs’ concerns. We understand the impact rising professional indemnity costs is having on the workforce and the potential for future pressure if different indemnity practices were in place in England and Wales.’

He added: ‘We’ve contributed towards the increasing indemnity costs through the annual uplift in GP pay and expenses since 2017, but today we are going further by responding to GP’s concerns with a long-term and sustainable solution.

‘This further demonstrates our commitment to invest in primary care in Wales and attract more GPs to work in Wales, helping us to make sure our health service is sustainable in the long-term.’

The BMA and Welsh Government have begun negotiations on an overhaul of the GMS contract, with an announcement expected next year. 

Dr Charlotte Jones, chair of BMA Wales’ GP Committee, and deputy chair, Dr Peter Horvath-Howard said: ‘GPC Wales is very positive that the move towards a state backed indemnity system for all GPs in Wales represents a very important step towards increasing the sustainability of general practice in Wales by addressing this significant cost pressure on GPs.

‘It is reassuring to hear that the scheme will cover the wider practice clinical team, and will ensure that any vicarious liabilities GP partners have with the wider multi-disciplinary teams working across clusters is covered. 

‘We look forward to working through the details with Welsh Government who have clearly recognised the need for action on this complex issue.’

Dr Rebecca Payne, chair of RCGP Wales, said: 'RCGP Wales is delighted that the concerns of Welsh GPs have been acted upon and that the Welsh government will take steps to ensure that Welsh GPs will benefit from a state-backed indemnity scheme.'

She added: 'It is crucial to get the detail right and we would be happy to work alongside Welsh Government, BMA Cymru and other stakeholders to ensure this announcement leads to positive change on the ground.”

Readers' comments (8)

  • Peter Swinyard

    Great news - will put the pressure on the NHS E lot to get it done and get it right. The will is basically there but getting mired in the pit of bureaucracy.
    JFDI, folks.

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  • Cobblers

    This is to be welcomed, BUT, and there is always a but, you should always have indemnity cover in addition to the state cover.

    Remember that the state is interested in covering its own arse and will hand yours to the wolves if it is deemed expedient by them. It would be sensible to have someone in your corner fighting for you.

    Just sayin', you know it makes sense.

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    Didn't Jeremy Hunt say we would all be getting this a year after he mentioned it..
    Time to pull out that original article Pulse

    Whilst we are at it .. whats come of Jeremys review regarding the Bawa Garba case

    keep quiet
    let enough time pass
    and soon everyone forgets...

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    Hopefully in the article above
    this will allow support for locums..??

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    @ cobblers
    I hear what you're saying
    It would be good if we just retained our indemnities and at the end of the year get a refund from some authority
    (.. whilst still keeping the tax deductible benefit..)

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  • And in Northern Ireland????? The silence from Department of Health in Stormont is deafening, GP is withering on the vine here and NOBODY in NI governance gives a hoot, we have become the poor relations of UK primary care sadly

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  • Dr BG was cover by a state backed indemnity look what happend there.Trust no-one.

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  • Cobblers,

    It’s not different from MPS/MDU etc . They already feed us to the wolves if the numbers say so. As for someone to fight our corner hahhaaaahahahhahghhaaaaahahhhchoke

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