The Government could potentially boost GP capacity by 20% overnight if it pledges to reimburse GP indemnity costs, GPC has suggested.
Speaking at the Health+Care conference, GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the Government has to shoulder some of the cost of indemnity – which has been spiralling in recent years – and view it as an investment.
He also said that NHS England will announce its proposals on reducing indemnity costs in July.
He told delegates: ‘Indemnity is a huge issue and what I have told both the Government and NHS England is that they have got to look at this as an investment initiative. Because by actually investing in reducing the indemnity burden you will increase GP sessions, you will increase capacity, today, before you’ve actually recruited more GPs.
‘You could probably increase capacity by about 20% if you provided the right support that allowed GPs to work more clinical sessions.’
Following the session, Dr Nagpaul told Pulse that it is in dialogue with NHS England about the very ‘complex issue’, with some form of proposal expected in the coming weeks.
NHS England said in the GP Forward View it would make a proposal on indemnity by July and the Government has been surveying GPs on their indemnity costs.
Dr Nagpaul told Pulse: ’The point we are making is that indemnity will cost the Government but it is an investment that will reap benefits in expanding the GP workforce at a time when we cannot recruit. It will help both expand the number of sessions GPs can do and help retain GPs in the profession. It is a cost that they really need to understand that it is almost a no-brainer.
‘We are looking at a range of options and we will see where we get to in the coming weeks.’
He said one of those options could include direct reimbursement.
He said: ‘It is an option that you have a Government reimbursement. The options range from those GPs who would like the Government to take responsibility for indemnity, so that they have got the cost bill and GPs are covered within it.
Some will say if it is not the Government, it can be at a local level. Some will say that there needs to be a reimbursement of a significant part of the current cost. These are all options that need to be looked at.’