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GPs to be indemnified for testing other NHS staff for Covid antibodies

GP practice staff delivering Covid-19 antibody tests to other NHS workers will be covered by the coronavirus indemnity scheme, NHS England has said.

The clinical negligence scheme for coronavirus (CNSC) was set up under emergency legislation tabled by the Government in March to cover additional liabilities arising from the pandemic.

In the latest GP bulletin, NHS England said that those not covered by their existing indemnity arrangements would be covered by the scheme to ensure indemnity ‘is not a barrier’ to testing.

It said: ‘We understand there has been some concern regarding the indemnity arrangements that apply for primary care staff who undertake antibody testing on other NHS workers. 

‘To ensure that indemnity is not a barrier to the NHS supporting the Government’s antibody testing programme, we are able to confirm that where you are not covered for this activity under your existing indemnity/insurance arrangements, the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Coronavirus (CNSC) will provide clinical negligence indemnity cover.’

The scheme covers all primary care staff who take blood samples for a Covid-19 antibody test from any other NHS employees, including colleagues, it added.

It comes as the BMA last week reached an agreement with insurers that doctors who tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies should not encounter difficulties when applying for life insurance or income protection.

It followed a warning from the professional body that GPs’ applications for life insurance must not be ‘disadvantaged’ by positive antibody test results amid reports that applications were being deferred.

Pulse revealed earlier this month that GPs are not obliged to offer antibody tests to patients after they were told in May that they could begin offering them to those who were having bloods taken anyway. 

In March, the Government announced it would fund indemnity cover for retired doctors who return to work to boost the coronavirus response, while the MDDUS pledged to provide retired members with free indemnity support that fell outside this.