This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pul jul aug2020 cover 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

Independents' Day

GP indemnity costs to be covered as NHS England looks to fill out-of-hours shifts

GPs working out-of-hours shifts will have their indemnity costs covered until April under a pilot scheme run by NHS England as it admitted that costs are ‘often a barrier to recruit’.

The move, revealed in a news bulletin to practices this morning, comes as ‘significant’ winter demand had pushed GP out-of-hours and NHS 111 providers to ‘work together to explore ways to get more GPs to support contract centres at peak times’, it said.

NHS England admitted that it is aware that rising indemnity costs for out-of-hours work is ‘often a barrier to recruit’. It follows a study published in November said almost half of GPs are turning down out-of-hours shifts because of the high cost of indemnity cover.

NHS England’s bulletin said: ‘This winter has seen significant demand for local urgent care services. GP out-of-hours services and NHS 111 providers are working together to explore ways to get more GPs to support contract centres at peak times. NHS England is aware that rising indemnity costs for GPs working in an out-of-hours setting is often a barrier to recruit.

‘Where a provider is an NHS provider, GP indemnity can be covered through the NHS Litigation Authority. NHS England is piloting a scheme with the main medical defence organisations to reimburse indemnity costs to GPs committing to new out-of-hours sessions between now and 7 April 2015.’

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair, said he believed the details about the pilots had not been firmed up.

He said: ‘[T]his is something we’ve been working with them on but at the moment there are no details firmed up or definite time as to when it might start.

‘The overall aim is to reduce the additional indemnity burden for a GP doing OOH sessions, but it’s quite complex to achieve that.’

Medical defence organisations have said premiums have risen because of an increased risk of claims, as legal complaints against GP reached record highs last year.

This follows a scheme by Welsh health boards to lower GP out-of-hours indemnity costs via a risk-sharing system that has been effective in increasing the number of GPs willing to take on shifts.

This year, NHS England efforts to relieve the winter crisis has been hampered by a lack of GPs and hospitals were pleading with GPs to step in as they struggled to cope with demand.

GPs wanting more information on NHS England’s pilot can contact: england.primarycareops@nhs.net

Related images

  • GPs on call - OOH - out of hours - urgent care - online

Readers' comments (21)

  • who would indemnify us from moral degradation and non Cost Effective prescribing dangerous medication imposed by NHS on doctors

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Medical indemnity cover for a GP covering regular GP practice sessions and OOH is not much different as compared to a GP covering only GP practice sessions.
    To encourage more salaried GPs, if all medical indemnity is covered by NHS England as happens with hospital consultants - it would be big step to ease the recruitment crisis

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Took Early Retirement

    It shows they are getting worried- good!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 3:13 and anybody else who knows, how much more is it to indemnify usual in hours work + OOH? Aren't there plenty of doctors in some areas doing only OOH work and earning a decent wage already?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "Medical indemnity cover for a GP covering regular GP practice sessions and OOH is not much different as compared to a GP covering only GP practice sessions. "

    This isn't universally true. my defence org wanted an extra 4k per year over and above that of a GP Partner for some limited OOH work.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • risk of litigation associated with oogp work is too high, and no matter whose fault it is , but doctor will be blamed invariably, only 200 pound/hr justifies this kind of work

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I've worked OOH as a salaried GP for a private provider since the new contract was introduced 10 years ago. I pay my own MDU subs. I'd like to work an additional 8-13 hours OOH every week but the indemnity costs deduct an additional 'tax' of 10% from any additional income so I end up paying 50% tax plus NI deductions...it's no joke.
    I haven't received a pay rise since 2005...but other GPs' incomes have waxed and waned so I'm not griping about it. Defence subscriptions are a huge disincentive to OOH work...if these were reimbursed I would happily commit to more work... as a single parent it fits with my commitments.
    The NHS would not be wasting an investment in me but would in return receive additional regular commitment from a tried and tested, safe and competent locally trained GP. Isn't that what patients want?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • paying for OOH subs wouldnt entice me because OOH providers are just crap employers.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I might do ooh instead of surgery shifts if this scheme worked. Only for good ooh set ups like shropdoc, but actually they are way better to work for than some practices.
    However, i emailed NHSE to ask exactly how it would work... And guess what? I've not had a reply.

    Mmmm m

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "Crown indemnity" will only cover whatever the crown wants to cover. GPs would be well advised not to rely on it.
    I do realise it is no longer called Crown indemnity.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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

Have your say