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Safeguarding reports to be covered by indemnity scheme, says BMA

The compiling of safeguarding reports will now be paid for under the state-backed indemnity scheme, the BMA has announced. 

The new NHS indemnity scheme for GPs in England and Wales, which came into effect on 1 April, covers the cost of clinical negligence claims arising from NHS work.

In the latest weekly LMC update, BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said NHS England and NHS Resolution have agreed that any claims related to safeguarding requests from patients will be covered by the national indemnity scheme.  

There are currently no provisions under the GP contract requring GPs to provide safeguarding services, as it is not an NHS service. 

NHS Resolution previously said that ‘requests for information from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in relation to children at risk are not covered under the clinical negligence scheme for general practice (CNSGP) as these are not acts in connection with the diagnosis, care or treatment of a patient’.

But following lobbying from the BMA, the DHSC and NHS Resolution have agreed to cover GPs for claims in relation to reports produced in response to safeguarding requests. 

Dr Vautrey said: ‘Following further discussions on some of the finer definitions of the scope of CNSGP in England, GPC have agreed with DHSC and NHS Resolution that the compiling of safeguarding reports for NHS patients is now included within scope for the state indemnity scheme.

‘It was initially thought that as these reports can be chargeable under collaborative fees arrangements they should be deemed to be private work and therefore out of scope. However, GPC made the case that these are statutory reports which should be reimbursed by the system rather than a private service to patients.

‘This perspective has been accepted by DHSC and NHSR and, therefore, actions originating from the completion of safeguarding reports after 1st April 2019 will be covered by CNSGP.’

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

It followed pressure from the profession that indemnity costs were ‘killing’ general practice.