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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

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)

  • 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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