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Gold, incentives and meh

State-backed indemnity scheme to cover 'all GPs for all NHS work'

The ‘state-backed’ indemnity scheme will be open to all GPs, including locums and sessional work, for all NHS work, the health secretary has announced. 

The scheme will be available in April 2019, health secretary Jeremy Hunt told delegates at today’s RCGP Conference in Liverpool, alongside an announcement that he was expanding the £20,000 ‘golden hello’ scheme and was looking into regulating physician associates.

He added that it will be available to locums and sessional GPs, but stopped short of promising it would be for all practice staff.

Pulse had previously reported that the scheme would cover all practice staff, but Mr Hunt said this was not the case.

He was asked by Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, whether the scheme would include all practice staff and locums.

Mr Hunt replied: 'I can give the commitment it will be for doctors working in general practice. The wider commitments, I would love to be able to give you, but I don’t know the answers. I don’t want to promise something I will have to retract later.’

Earlier in his speech, he had said the scheme ’will take time to introduce’.

He said: ’It will take us 18 months. We need to negotiate with the BMA and the medical defence organisations. It will be introduced in this year’s contract discussions.

’It will be more affordadle and reliable for you. We’ll have control of variables that makes indemnity fees fluctuate… I hope this will give some stability.’

The announcement of the scheme follows pressure from the profession and Pulse to tackle the problem of rising indemnity fees.

GP leaders gave the announcement a cautious welcome, but said more details on funding and who it will cover was needed.

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

The BMA’s GP Committee warned earlier this year that rising indemnity costs were set to make the profession ‘untenable’, especially with potential changes to the size of compensation payouts.

But in a statement today, the DH said that it is looking at a ‘long-term solution’.

It said: ‘The Government is planning to develop a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs, to protect them from the costs of clinical negligence claims, subject to further work on relevant issues.

’Our ambition is to provide a more stable and affordable system for GPs. The scheme could provide financially sustainable cover for claims arising from the delivery of NHS services.’

Please note - this article was amended at 11:55 on Thursday 12 Octboer. It previously stated that the GPC said it would cover all practice staff. However, Mr Hunt said this was not necessarily the case

 

Readers' comments (35)

  • What's the stick going to be?

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  • National Hopeless Service

    This is very very good news. But will still need some cover for our private work: HGV medicals and such like.

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  • Agree re cover for private work which is at risk of becoming hideously expensive. Interesting to see if OOH providers can get look in on this scheme - I work for one who contractually have to provide indemnity cover, they do this by refunding my subs.

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  • Regarding private work, if the cover for this is tres expensive then we just bump up our fees to cover? Or just decline. It's not in our contract!

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  • Re: Indemnity ...any news for Northern Ireland /devolved areas like scotland + wales??
    we are getting really shafted here, last GP rescue plan with help for GP sickleave pay didnt apply to us here either.

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  • Drop...ocean....

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  • Knowledge is Porridge

    Some good news at last!
    Due to tax, pension and indemnity there were many reasons NOT to work harder. For me with my wife a GP too, we would also have childcare expenses. Working more sessions just didn't add up.
    But if I am not penalized for working harder, then I will, especially if I don't feel I am taking a risk.
    This could really help the GP workforce. Still more to be done, especially the toxic compensation culture we have developed in the last 20 years.
    "have you been involved in an accident that wasn't your fault?"

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  • CENSORSHIP?

    Daily mirror was saying NHS as we know it may be gone by next year on its 70th anniversary..
    Why 2019 before this starts ??
    Why do I cynically feel that this will not happen when the time comes
    Surely April 2018 is enough time??

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  • CENSORSHIP?

    Google "nhs will collapse"
    Lots of articles
    scarily the predictions are very soon

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  • Doctor McDoctor Face hold on....look as what he said... 'State backed indemnity' what does that mean????? ..... I note he didnt say Crown indemnity (Which I agree would have been very good news) ..... a feeble 2% discount could be a 'state backed' scheme.. ...I note he said he had to negotiate with the MDOs......we will still be paying for this..... I feel a damp squib coming on...... a very damp squib.... I wouldn't rush to bring out the champagne.....

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  • What's the stick going to be?

    available to locums and sessional GPs, ... but not partners.

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  • "State backed", that implies to me that we will be charged the going rate but the MDU, MPS etc. will not be allowed to go bust. We may still have to pay ++++.
    As always the devil will be in the details and final arrangements.

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  • Underwhelming MR Hunt.Indemnity goes up because of the Government legislation,the government need to have a vested interest into no increasing cost or this initiative will be a veritable wast of time and hot air.

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  • IT WON'T BE FOR LOCUMS WHO WILL BE IN THE DO DAH....THAT IS THE BIG RUMOUR

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  • Exactly as predicted yesterday. Very vague. Not crown indemnity. Devil in detail. Do not get excited .

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  • when I use a word it means what I want it to mean...

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  • Curb Your Enthusiasm

    18 months?! Get a move on Jeremy. It probably wont be that good anyway - not sure why I should get my hopes up

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  • Doctor McDoctor Face - haha, so in a previous article where there wasn't clarity re locums you said "I don't think that locums can have it all ways" treating this essential part of the workforce like they are skiving parasites; and then the next moment you say "will still need some cover for our private work". This kind of hypocrisy is why our professions consistently fails to stand together and then get taken advantage of by the powers that be. Cover your own bl**dy private work yourself.

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  • good news. appreciation when it is due.

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  • Painful though it may sound, people need to come to terms with the fact that this might actually be good news.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Mr Hunt replied: 'I can give the commitment it will be for doctors working in general practice. The wider commitments, I would love to be able to give you, but I don’t know the answers. I don’t want to promise something I will have to retract later.’

    Mmmmm
    Would like to have a statement from the Treasury as well. Especially because we are in the middle of a civil war within the Tory party where the Chancellor is reluctant to spend the money for domestic purposes on preparing for a no deal with EU situation on Brexit negotiations. Hard Brexiteers are saying the opposite, of course .

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  • Vinci Ho

    Keep sending your comments , folks

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  • 'Drowning men grasping at straws', again!

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  • Presumably will be effectively the same as for hospital docs.

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  • I just don't trust him! I hope that I'm being over pessimistic.

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  • Tantalus

    MDU have halved their fees from 1st of November....something has actually really happened for the better !

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  • AlanAlmond

    My gut says this man can not be trusted, hope is telling me it sounds like good news. I couldn’t see why we should expect cover for private work, private work is not compulsory, If it doesn’t make financial sense to do private work either put up your fees or don’t do it. I suspect what will materialise will be some kind of tax linked reimbursement, or price control monitored by an independant regulator - like in the energy market. I can’t see a conservative government nationalising private businesses like the MDU/MDDUS/MPS or putting them out of business by offering crown indemnity in their place. I’m sure the government is subject to fairly aggressive lobbying by these companies who would do anything to prevent that happening. The bottom line is this government cares about business not public services. They will be talking to the indemnity companies first, the BMA won’t figure much. We will still be paying indemnity fees, the change will come in the form of regulation, not cash or anything which would actually cost the government any actual money up front, it doesn’t have any.

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  • My instinct is don't trust this... I hope I am being overly pessimistic.

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  • Mdu will only drop fees if you are newly changing. If you subscribed in August you are shafted.

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  • State backed indemnity what does it mean? I don't trust this man. Why 2019? We need it now. Until then if it is worth it, I will not be doing any extras just to pay the MDOs and more tax.

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  • The government have once again taken a very short sighted quick-to-please option. They are failing to tackle the reason behind the rising costs of indemnity - patient's lawyer's costs (often more than the compensation available) and increased litigation, and the fact that compensation is on the basis of the patient having to pay for private care even when that care is available on the NHS for free.

    The money will come out of the health service budget and will impact on the funds available for patient care. The cost will be factored into GP contract negotiations and everyone will get paid less to compensate. It won't cover attendance at inquests or assistance with GMC complaints (which are on the up year on year).

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  • Have the MDU really halved fees?

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  • A virtual Nobody.
    Problem is that the insurance companies cap what you can charge for private work and it is very low

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  • "STATE backed" means you pay your indemnity of £10k to STATE instead of MDU. GPs are so naive and fool.

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  • A week on and the wheels have fallen off this bandwagon already

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