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HEE to cover GP trainee indemnity costs until qualification

Health Education England (HEE) will fund personal indemnity cover for all GP trainees from April, the BMA has announced. 

The BMA said today that GPs undertaking training in general practice will not be required to purchase cover for clinical negligence liabilities until they qualify. 

This comes after Pulse revealed yesterday that GPs in England will not necessarily be guaranteed cover under the new NHS indemnity scheme as claims will be taken up at the ‘discretion’ of the health secretary.

When the new five-year GP contract was announced earlier this year, NHS England said the scheme will apply to all general practice staff, paid for on top of increased to GPs’s core GMS contract funding

BMA GP trainees subcommittee chair Dr Zoe Greaves welcomed the news, which she said will provide support for trainees at a time when increasing the workforce is crucial.  

She said: ‘We are delighted to announce the new indemnity arrangements for trainees. We have worked with HEE to ensure that trainees are comprehensively covered without the need to take additional cover for personal negligence or medico-legal claims. 

‘This means that those beginning their careers in general practice can have confidence in the protection they receive, which adequately takes into account the unique structure of GP training. This is particularly important given the ongoing workforce crisis in general practice.’

She added: ‘In the short-term it is important for trainees to be aware that if they have already paid indemnity for this year and received a refund from their employer locally that any refund they now receive from their MDO will need to be returned to the employer that reimbursed them.’

The Government announced the state-backed scheme in October 2017 after acknowledging the cost of medical negligence cover was affecting GPs’ ability to work. The then health secretary Jeremy Hunt said at the time that it will be ‘more affordable and reliable’.

Although GPs will no longer have to pay for cover for any clinical negligence claims relating to NHS work they will still be required to continue membership with an MDO to cover them for private work and professional regulation advice.

Last month, the Welsh Government confirmed that GPs in Wales will be offered cover by the same NHS clinical indemnity provider that currently covers out of hours and secondary care.