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Gold, incentives and meh

Annual hikes in GP indemnity fees to be reimbursed from April 2017

The NHS will introduce a £60 million Indemnity Support Scheme for GPs to compensate the costs of inflationary increases in insurances costs, Pulse understands.

An NHS England board paper had said this would start immediately, but a later statement clarified that practices will begin receiving the money from April 2017, which will cover any increases in indemnity fees.

It will be worth £30m over each of the next two years, Pulse has learnt, and NHS England said it would be based on ’an agreed and transparent methodology, based on best available data’.

NHS England will also extend last year’s successful £2m winter indemnity scheme for out-of-hours GPS this into this winter, which saw 500 additional GPs working 14,000 extra out-of-hour shifts.

This funding injection - first trailed in the GP Forward View - is part of a ‘two-pronged’ strategy on rising indemnity costs, focusing on immediate support and a longer-term approach to reduce costs for GPs.

The longer-term approach will see NHS England working alongside the Department of Health, GPs, indemnity providers and the NHS Litigation Authority to bring about ‘fundamental reform’ of the current system..

The GPC told Pulse they ‘cautiously’ welcomed the extension of the scheme and the immediate moves to tackle spiralling inflation costs, but said these were ‘interim’ solutions and wider reform would be needed.

It also said it was seeking clarification from NHS England on how exactly these inflationary costs would be calculated, as today’s announcement provides little detail.

GPs have cited the spiralling cost of indemnity - a 26% increase last year - as a major reason for reducing their hours, with doctors saying it was no longer ‘worth increasing your hours’.

Some doctors in the North East even switched to locum work in Scotland because of the lower costs of indemnity.

Papers filed for the NHS England board meeting say the proposals had been worked up with the Government, indemnity providers and the profession and recognise this is a ‘complex’ issue.

The board papers stated: ‘To alleviate the immediate pressure of rising costs for GPs from indemnity, we will introduce a new Indemnity Support Scheme for practices for at least the next two years.

‘This will seek to cover the inflationary rises of indemnity costs for practices, using an agreed and transparent methodology, based on best available data.’

It added that work is ongoing to ‘look at the scope for more fundamental reform of the system, and consider the case for any more specific targeting.’

Dr Charlotte Jones, chair of GPC Wales and the UK lead on urgent care, said: ‘GPC UK cautiously welcomes the announcement today of this interim solution designed to cover the average inflationary uplift for indemnity for practices.

‘We are awaiting further details of the financial modelling and are actively involved in working with NHS England on finding long-term solutions for this complex problem, as this is just a short-term, interim recognition of the costs whilst the wider issues are looked.’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Government had listened to GPs’ views that the current indemnity system was unsustainable.

He said: ‘We want the best working conditions for GPs so that they can provide the best service for patients. We have listened to concerns and know that for GPs, paying rising indemnity fees out of their own pockets feels unfair and unsustainable – so are today committing millions to help.”

NHS England director of primary care Dr Arvind Madan said: ’Three months on from the launch of the GP Forward View, we’re now getting on with implementing these plans. We understand the pressure on GP practices and today’s announcement shows how we’re getting on with immediate practical steps to deliver GPs much-needed support.’

This article was updated at 12:30pm on 28 July 2016, following NHS England providing more information


Readers' comments (35)

  • I didn't feel the need to comment anonymously for above as nothing to be frightened about what I said. But Pulse wouldn't let me submit unless I changed to post as 'anonymously.

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  • WORST than interest rate saving. 50 p per £100 will be £5 per thousand so if you pay £10,00 then you will get £50 after you filled lots of forma. this will be classed as income liable to 40% tax.
    i am locum and pay 7k so will get £35 help.
    do you think it is incetive to carrry on working?? they have not said they will pay locum.

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  • Peter Swinyard

    Problems here. [1]Arvind Madhan has said "we're getting on with implementing" but no payments until at least next April. That's 9 months away. Anyone heard of cash flow? That's really getting on with it...
    [2]The small print on the NHSE website says that this will be workload sensitive. How? By the discredited Carr-Hill formula? Potentially will disadvantage practices with more doctors per head of population who take less in drawings to provide better care? [3]no clarity on locum or sessional doctor reimbursement - my practice pays all indemnity for the salaried doctors so I am paying for 4 doctors, not just for me.
    And no-one even mentioning direct reimbursement of the usurous imposed precept of the CQC.

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  • I think that they will pay full costs of indemnity for salaried docs and for partners. there does have to be a drive to make being a partner worthwhile.

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  • There's no beating our politicians when it comes to making rocket unintelligible rocket science out of simple facts.
    What did the poet mean by cover of increase?
    It looks more like an offer of a free for all to Indemnity providers to increase premiums to limits as government is going to foot the bill for any increase anyway. But what if the 60mln doesn't suffice?
    Instead of giving blanket cover like to secondary care, this Tory government is again indulging in feeding friends and family from government funds but not realizing they are losing the plot completely and this is going to backfire so badly that you will have NHS shreds floating in the clouds by next autumn.
    God save the NHS or well, can He? - probably He's also going to move abroad to Scandinavia to find a GP:)

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  • Vinci Ho

    My message to Agent Hunt is :
    If you really want to reair relationship and hence attract people to join and stay in general practice , implement this properly and completely . Too often we heard loud noises down the corridor but very little actually would happen .
    Otherwise , the verdict is 'about f*****g time '!

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  • Vinci Ho

    Correction relationship....

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  • This simply isn't good enough. We demand crown indemnity just like our hospital colleagues

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  • Newly qualified. First year indemnity fee £7500. Couple this with fees for LMC, GMC, RCGP, BMA, BMJ, DRB, Accountant, locumorganiser, Doctors bag with essentials... the list gpes on. I feel like a cash cow. £10k before I even see my first patient. Add to this the burden of paperwork and time sorting all this ridiculousness out. No wonder my elders are leaving or reducing their hours. Its like being in a vacuum that is already sucking the goodwill out of me.

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  • Crown indemnity cover will only arrive when GPs vote on their feet an leave the profession in abundance - by which I mean going into other medical careers or working as a GP abroad. Until then the government is quite happy to put up with all your moaning while you suck up all the rising costs of indemnity cover and take it all on the chin.

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