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Independents' Day

State-backed indemnity scheme to cover 'all GPs for all NHS work'

The ‘state-backed’ indemnity scheme will be open to all GPs, including locums and sessional work, for all NHS work, the health secretary has announced. 

The scheme will be available in April 2019, health secretary Jeremy Hunt told delegates at today’s RCGP Conference in Liverpool, alongside an announcement that he was expanding the £20,000 ‘golden hello’ scheme and was looking into regulating physician associates.

He added that it will be available to locums and sessional GPs, but stopped short of promising it would be for all practice staff.

Pulse had previously reported that the scheme would cover all practice staff, but Mr Hunt said this was not the case.

He was asked by Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, whether the scheme would include all practice staff and locums.

Mr Hunt replied: 'I can give the commitment it will be for doctors working in general practice. The wider commitments, I would love to be able to give you, but I don’t know the answers. I don’t want to promise something I will have to retract later.’

Earlier in his speech, he had said the scheme ’will take time to introduce’.

He said: ’It will take us 18 months. We need to negotiate with the BMA and the medical defence organisations. It will be introduced in this year’s contract discussions.

’It will be more affordadle and reliable for you. We’ll have control of variables that makes indemnity fees fluctuate… I hope this will give some stability.’

The announcement of the scheme follows pressure from the profession and Pulse to tackle the problem of rising indemnity fees.

GP leaders gave the announcement a cautious welcome, but said more details on funding and who it will cover was needed.

Pulse last week delivered a letter to the Department of Health signed by more than 300 GPs calling on the Government to ‘fully reimburse the cost of GP indemnity’.

The BMA’s GP Committee warned earlier this year that rising indemnity costs were set to make the profession ‘untenable’, especially with potential changes to the size of compensation payouts.

But in a statement today, the DH said that it is looking at a ‘long-term solution’.

It said: ‘The Government is planning to develop a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs, to protect them from the costs of clinical negligence claims, subject to further work on relevant issues.

’Our ambition is to provide a more stable and affordable system for GPs. The scheme could provide financially sustainable cover for claims arising from the delivery of NHS services.’

Please note - this article was amended at 11:55 on Thursday 12 Octboer. It previously stated that the GPC said it would cover all practice staff. However, Mr Hunt said this was not necessarily the case


Readers' comments (35)

  • What's the stick going to be?

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  • National Hopeless Service

    This is very very good news. But will still need some cover for our private work: HGV medicals and such like.

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  • Agree re cover for private work which is at risk of becoming hideously expensive. Interesting to see if OOH providers can get look in on this scheme - I work for one who contractually have to provide indemnity cover, they do this by refunding my subs.

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  • Regarding private work, if the cover for this is tres expensive then we just bump up our fees to cover? Or just decline. It's not in our contract!

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  • Re: Indemnity ...any news for Northern Ireland /devolved areas like scotland + wales??
    we are getting really shafted here, last GP rescue plan with help for GP sickleave pay didnt apply to us here either.

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  • Drop...ocean....

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  • Knowledge is Porridge

    Some good news at last!
    Due to tax, pension and indemnity there were many reasons NOT to work harder. For me with my wife a GP too, we would also have childcare expenses. Working more sessions just didn't add up.
    But if I am not penalized for working harder, then I will, especially if I don't feel I am taking a risk.
    This could really help the GP workforce. Still more to be done, especially the toxic compensation culture we have developed in the last 20 years.
    "have you been involved in an accident that wasn't your fault?"

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  • End of the line?

    Daily mirror was saying NHS as we know it may be gone by next year on its 70th anniversary..
    Why 2019 before this starts ??
    Why do I cynically feel that this will not happen when the time comes
    Surely April 2018 is enough time??

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  • End of the line?

    Google "nhs will collapse"
    Lots of articles
    scarily the predictions are very soon

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  • Doctor McDoctor Face hold on....look as what he said... 'State backed indemnity' what does that mean????? ..... I note he didnt say Crown indemnity (Which I agree would have been very good news) ..... a feeble 2% discount could be a 'state backed' scheme.. ...I note he said he had to negotiate with the MDOs......we will still be paying for this..... I feel a damp squib coming on...... a very damp squib.... I wouldn't rush to bring out the champagne.....

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