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GP information can be passed on to GMC under new NHS indemnity scheme

GPs who have clinical negligence claims made against them under the new NHS indemnity scheme could see their information passed on to the GMC or NHS England for further investigation.

According to guidance on the new scheme, introduced by the Government in April, any information and data provided by a GP in relation to a claim can be 'disclosed without restriction' to regulatory organisations.

Before the state-backed scheme was introduced - when medical defence organisations (MDOs) handled all indemnity claims - there were no requirements for information to be passed on.

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) said it is 'seriously concerned' about the change and criticised NHS Resolution, which runs the new scheme, for failing to notify GPs.

It said it was particularly worried because 'GPs who don’t provide information requested by NHS Resolution can be refused indemnity'.

The NHS Resolution guidance states: 'Any persons making requests must provide such information to the administrator [NHS Resolution] in relation to a claim made against them together with any evidence requested by the administrator to verify the person’s status as an eligible person.

'Persons making requests acknowledge and agree that by submitting a request any and all information and data (howsoever stored) provided by them to the administrator may be disclosed without restriction or conditions by the administrator, the secretary of state and/or their respective officers, agents, employees and sub-contractors for the purposes of the scheme, or as may be in the public interest, for example to make a report to regulatory organisations such as the GMC or to notify NHS England of concerns which may be managed by the performers list regulations.

'For the avoidance of doubt, any such information provided to the administrator shall be and remain the property of the administrator.'

MDU chief executive Dr Christine Tomkins said it is concerning that the body that assists GPs with incident claims is allowed to use information provided in 'good faith' in the public interest.

She said: 'We are seriously concerned that the body assisting GPs with claims from incidents after 1 April 2019 can use information provided by them in good faith to refer GPs to bodies such as the GMC or NHS England in the public interest. Especially as GPs who don’t provide information requested by NHS Resolution can be refused indemnity.

'We expect most GPs have no idea that, if it thinks there is a public interest in doing so, NHS Resolution intends to share information provided for a claim with the GMC or for performers list or other investigations.

'What’s more there are no plans to warn GPs their information is about to be shared or give them an opportunity to comment. We don’t think this is fair.'

The MDU said it had been told by NHS Resolution's chief executive that information would only be passed on in rare circumstances and where there were serous concerns, such as a risk to patient safety.

But the MDU argued 'there is no transparency about how such decisions will be made.'

NHS Resolution has been approached for comment.

The Department of Health and Social Care announced the state-backed scheme in October 2017 after acknowledging the cost of medical negligence cover was affecting GPs’ ability to work. Then health secretary Jeremy Hunt said at the time that it will be 'more affordable and reliable'.

It followed pressure from the profession and Pulse who argued that indemnity costs were ‘killing’ general practice.

Earlier this year, the Government revealed plans to overhaul clinical negligence cover for claims that fall outside of the new NHS indemnity scheme. It said it wants to see new rules brought in that mean MDOs are contractually obligated to take on cases - instead of the current situation where they can refuse to do so under certain circumstances.

In response, MDOs warned the proposals will increase costs 'substantially' for GPs.

Readers' comments (18)

  • Very sad to know that Doctors are penalised like this.No wonder more will retire.

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  • What!!!!?? The GMC are at it again. Last week we had them all sorrowful and trying to make amends and quick as a flash they are back to their old ways.
    The GMC should refuse to accept this information until proper safeguards and transparency has been assured.
    And there was I genuinely thinking that this totally wretched organisation was beginning to get it.

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  • Isn't this another BMA clusterf@@@,they were the negotiators they have put us in harm again.Why is anyone a member of the BMA.

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  • Quadruple jeopardy.
    1. The legal system from the lawyer. That alone should suffice like any citizen.
    2. NHS Resolution will give you problems to justify their jobs at your expense.
    3. GMC--AGAIN!
    4. NHS England
    No wonder people cannot wait to get out of this system. All future prospective medical students/doctors need to know of this. I think they need to know what they are getting into.
    Once again the half measures. Give with one hand and take with the other. This system is broken. We should go private and cut all this quangos out.
    One more 5th Jeopardy: Your pension. It goes if the health secretary deems it fit. You do not even need to have a trial, just an accusation will do. Pulse has done a great article on this. A bit like Guantanamo.

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    Cut and paste link above for article.One can get a Gross Negligence Manslaughter anytime. We are exposed on a daily basis with people threatening suicide.

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  • Keep bring these ideas forward please just make an earlier retirement more likely.

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  • Yet another regulator!!!

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  • Well done BMA, another fine mess.....

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  • If serious concerns come to light as a result of professional negligence it is rather naive to suggest that the regulator is not informed. We are all patients as well as doctors.

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  • The new NHS indemnity scheme doesn't cover criminal charges, so you all still need private indemnity cover I'm afraid.

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