This site is intended for health professionals only

Live blog: NICE chair refuses to confirm whether he is taking statins

16:45 It’s been some day at the RCGP Conference, and one of the quirkier stories of the day is the chair of NICE refusing to confirm or deny whether he is taking statins.

Professor David Haslam said: ‘I’ve recently been discussing with my GP about whether I should take a statin. I feel very sorry for my GP. Having to have that sort of consultation with the chair of NICE. But it was absolutely right to talk through the pros and the cons. It had to be my decision.’

He was then asked from the audience whether he was on statins himself.

Professor Haslam answered, to laughter: ’I am extraordinarily aware that there is the potential for this to be a front page news story.’

He added: ‘If past experience is anything to go by, half of the drugs that you prescribed in your surgery yesterday will be found to be uneffective. We just don’t know which half.’

12:45 It’s not often that the Pulse editorial office is left speechless by a press release reacting to an announcement, but the MDU’s release certainly managed it.

It has announced that it is halving the costs of GP and practice staff  subscriptions in response to the new ‘state-backed’ scheme. You can read more about this story here.

12:20 So now the dust has settled, what do we know on indemnity?

  • The state-backed indemnity scheme is set to be introduced in 2019;
  • It will cover all GPs, including locums and sessional GPs, doing all NHS work – though not their private work;
  • There is no commitment for it to cover all practice staff.

The medical defence organisations have reacted to the announcement.

Simon Kayll, CEO at the Medical Protection Society (MPS), said: ’The fact that the Government has recognised the importance of protecting GPs from the increased costs, after months of discussions, is positive. A scheme which would in time deliver access to state-backed indemnity for all NHS doctors in England – reflecting the changing nature of primary care – will be welcome news to many GPs.

’This new scheme would not however solve the underlying issue of rising clinical negligence costs. The cost of claims will always need to be paid for, and will continue to increase unless the root of the issue is tackled, through legal reform.

’There are also a number of decisions yet to be made, around the cost of the new scheme and how it will operate. It is important that the Government develops this detail as soon as possible – GPs will need certainty that the “small print” is fair and meets their needs and we will continue to push the Government to ensure this happens swiftly.

MDDUS chief Executive Chris Kenny said: ’Today’s brief announcement raises more questions than it answers. GPs need detailed and specific answers on a wide range of issues including the cost of the scheme, how it will be managed and ensuring GPs have a choice with fair competition.

’It is no secret that the rising cost of indemnity has been a major concern to GPs, particularly in England. The Government’s failure to reform the law of tort and cap costs that lawyers are taking from the NHS and GPs has been the main driver in rising indemnity costs. That’s outside the control of medical defence organisations and today’s announcement doesn’t tackle that.

’GPs in particular have borne the brunt of a financial “perfect storm” and it’s profoundly disappointing to see Government seeking to move rather than reduce claims costs as it fails to tackle the underlying issues.’


10:45 We’re still waiting for Mr Hunt’s speech, but some big news from Pulse. According to chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, the scheme will cover all practice staff, including locums, and will be rolled out in full in 12-18 months.

Read the full story here – it will be updated as soon as Mr Hunt speaks.

10:10 Lots of chatter about the indemnity scheme. The chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, Dr Richard Vautrey, tweeted this earlier:

10:00 Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP, is talking about how loneliness is as big a health threat as long-term conditions. We’ll have more on her speech soon.

Hunt is due to speak at 11am.

Thursday 12 October, 7:30: As you will no doubt know by now, health secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce a new state-backed indemnity scheme that will see practices paying a as-yet undetermined ‘membership fee’ to cover practices’ indemnity fees.

We’ll know more by the time of his speech later this morning – but probably not much. 

You can read the BMA’s take on it here – a cautious welcome.

He is also set to announce an expansion of the £20,000 ‘golden hello’ scheme and regulation of physician associates. We’ll have more throughout the day. 


Weds 11 October 2017, 16:45: The health secretary Jeremy Hunt will be at the RCGP Conference in Liverpool tomorrow, and it promises to be one filled with new announcements. 

Pulse has reported that the headline is likely to be a major announcement on indemnity, but it is likely there will be other initiatives announced.

Follow our live blog all tomorrow for the build-up and the reaction to the speech throughout the day.

Let’s hope Dr Barrett’s predictions don’t come true, as general practice certainly needs some support right now…


Visit Pulse Reference for details on 140 symptoms, including easily searchable symptoms and categories, offering you a free platform to check symptoms and receive potential diagnoses during consultations.