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Independents' Day

NHS to fund all staff indemnity on top of global sum increase

The new GP contract has guaranteed GMS contract funding uplifts every year on top of funding the indemnity of all GPs and general practice staff.

The long-awaited scheme will mean GPs no longer pay for clinical negligence indemnity out of their own pockets, or for their staff.

They will need to medical defence organisation fees to cover private work, fitness-to-practise fees and basic advice if they so wish, but it is expected the fees will be vastly reduced.

At the same time, the global sum will be see a circa 1.4% increase every year for the next five years, on top of the new DES to join a network, which will be worth another 1.6% increase on core funding.

In a statement NHS England said that ‘all of general practice will be covered, including out-of-hours and all staff groups as well as new recruits’.

This ‘means they won’t pay indemnity cover and they will be protected from future inflated indemnity costs,’ the statement added.

The BMA GP Committee said the new scheme – which starts in April – ‘brings family doctors in line with their hospital colleagues’, as they will ‘no longer have to personally fund clinical negligence cover, which has become increasingly unsustainable and been a key factor impairing GP recruitment and retention’.

The announcement today comes with the unveiling of a groundbreaking new five-year GP contract.

Welcoming the new contract, GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘Crucially, this investment has enabled us to fulfil one of our key aims by once and for all banishing the personal expense of indemnity cover, with a state-backed scheme set to begin, as promised, in April.

‘This will mean that all GPs and practice staff, both in and out of hours, will be covered and represents a major change, freeing GPs from the significant risk of rapidly rising indemnity costs.’

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes Lampard said: ‘We are particularly pleased at the news that a state-backed indemnity scheme will be introduced from April this year, providing all GPs in England with full insurance cover that is on a par with the arrangements already in place for our hospital colleagues.

‘Escalating indemnity costs have become a huge burden for GPs at all stages of their careers, and some GPs have even cited this as their reason for leaving the profession. The College has been campaigning for a state-backed scheme for a long time, and we are extremely pleased that the Government has kept the promise first made by former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt at our annual conference in 2017.’

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Readers' comments (17)

  • If core funding is being limited to 1.6% per year how is this not top slicing to fund the indemnity?

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  • 1.6% pathetic, lets see what inflation runs at bet its 3.5-4%.(RPI the real measurement not the fixed CPI).

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  • the way I read it, it's 1.4% + 1.6%/yr for a DES + several K/yr for indemnity. I'm sure it won't be as simple as that, but hardly pathetic

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  • With inflation at a 23 month LOW at 2% last month, a 1.4% rise in global sum every year is still a pay cut in real terms every year. Hmmm! That is a real incentive to stay!

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  • @MD
    I think that 1.4% is the global sum uplift - meant to deliver a 2% pay increase. Which is in line with inflation.
    There is an EXTRA 1.6% going to the DES - which is not an insignificant amount. There will certainly be some practice savings as you may not need to employ as many staff as you did before.

    AND on top of all of that there is the MDO savings. For me that amounts to about 10k/ year (although you have to take off the 2-3k/year from the funding that we receive specifically for MDO payments).

    I think that is a pretty good outcome. The BMA have obviously prioritized MDO payments being not taken out of the global sum, which was entirely the right thing to do. That would have led to the global sum being raided year after year as the overall insurance costs increase.

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  • Will not all that be wiped out with an increase in NHS employers superannuation contribution rising to 20.6% from April? The end of seniority allowance April 2021? The end of MPIG?

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  • Does anyone have information on how the logistics of this will be handled? Which department is going to co-ordinate, investigate and respond to complaints now that the MDOs are no longer involved?

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  • @Tryinghard
    I understand that the consultation for employers superannuation, which is still at that stage, indicates that it will be fully funded (so separate to these discussions). If that is the case, it will be cost neutral to a practice where everyone is in the scheme. If a GP is not in the scheme and is funded, they would see a significant pay boost.

    The whole things being fully funded sounds unlikely, but then I thought that the outcome seen today with regards to MDO payments was unlikely.

    The seniority allowance money is being invested back in to the core contact payments separately to this agreement. Many junior partners have already benefited from that change. The (extremely good) negotiation at the time means existing members of the scheme have not seen 'massive' decreases over the last few years (as the decreases have been funded by partners at the top of the system retiring) AND have benefited from that money being invested in to core funding, but they will then see bigger drops over the remaining 2 years of the scheme.

    The same applies for ending MPIG - the practices without MPIG will see funding increase slightly as the money is redistributed. The practices with huge MPIG amounts will see that money drop. That again is not included in the figures above.

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  • Any idea what the outcome is for run-off cover? Do people need to immediately shift their indemnity on to cheaper cover? (probably worh £100/ week so you don't want to delay it)
    Or do people need to start saving for a big run-off payment come April 1st?

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  • can some one tell me if locum will pay reduced amount to mps or mdu?

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