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Dr Therese Ferrero: 'My membership fees have increased by 30%'

It is unfair for medical defence bodies to put up their premiums by this much, says GP locum Dr Therese Ferrero

I am a locum GP with regular work at a GMS practice, but I also do some work on behalf of BUPA. I had to renew my membership with the a medical defence body in September last year.

I think it is the same for many doctors, they just do it and they don’t really think but it is a really big figure. So I looked at the previous figure and noticed that it has increased by 30%, for the same number of sessions. Currently, I am paying £3,724 per year and before I was paying £2,857 for the same number of session. I work four sessions, or 16 hours, per week.

Every year it is going up, and it is going up by a lot. I am the main earner in the family so it does affect us. Obviously, as a locum I am very lucky that I have regular work, but [the size of the fee] does affect me.

I contacted them and asked them why, but was given a standardised response. Then I looked at their accounts and found their director salaries had increased. This is not consistent with them telling us that the cost of our memberships go up because there are more claims and more money is going out. If there is that much money going out then how can they increase their salary by that much.

I think it is unfair and you can’t justify it when most of our salaries have been frozen.

I did look at the other providers, but we really do not have much choice. Nonetheless, I will change my medical defence body in September.

Dr Therese Ferrero is a GP locum in Guildford

Readers' comments (4)

  • I guess they have to pay for all the perks on offer 'to secure a good quality of staff' - so pay we must, otherwise it may upset poor darlings and then they will get depressed, then sick and have to stay at The Priory to recover from working sooooo hard; diddums!

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  • We're paying an equivalent of an extra mortgage per month.Could buy a second house for that!

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  • I suspect the actuaries have worked it out, and these are our insurance risks and liabilities. If it keeps going up like this it might become unaffordable for many GPs to continue.

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  • This is a diffcult problem for most doctors, particularly those in specialties considered high risk, irrespective of their personal results. The cost for a neurosurgeon for a gross non-indemnified annual income of £30,000, assuming that one is able to demonstrate that 50% of it counts as expenses (ie net income of £15,000), is £19,600 (MDU, 2013). Doing some non-NHS work on the side is clearly not a viable option here!

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