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.’
State-backed indemnity scheme: a potted history
The DHSC announced the state backed scheme in October 2017 after acknowledging that the cost of medical negligence cover was affecting GPs’ ability to work. Then health secretary Jeremy Hunt said at the time that it will be ‘more affordable and reliable’.
The NHS long-term plan – released this month - said the new indemnity scheme will be cost neutral.