This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

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?

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

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • good news. appreciation when it is due.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say