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MDU asks GP leaders to back ‘half-price’ indemnity scheme stance

The Medical Defence Union has asked GPs to ‘get behind’ its bid to ensure that the new state-backed indemnity scheme will include historic liabilities.

The MDU has, as of this month, replaced its previous occurence-based cover with a half-price ‘transitional benefits’ scheme, following the Government’s announcement in October.

But the Department of Health warned GPs that the transitional scheme would leave them without cover for claims originating before the state-backed scheme is introduced.

It said this would mean GPs having to buy separate cover from the MDU – at a cost of at least £500-1,500 annually.

The MDU has now written to all LMC chairs, ahead of the first England LMCs Conference on Friday this week, to get behind the MDU in ‘a united effort to ensure that the scheme includes all historic liabilities for the benefit of all GPs’.

It said this comes as a number of conference motions are focused on the problem of unaffordable GP indemnity costs, including one threatening to boycott out of hours unless indemnity is paid.

Dr Christine Tomkins, MDU chief executive said that the MDU’s ‘considered decision to charge a lower rate’ for the transitional scheme ‘reflects our expectation that the Government will have to pick up the cost of historic claims to deliver on its published commitments to GPs and to avert a meltdown of the service’.

Se said: ‘High indemnity prices are already forcing GPs to leave the profession or cut down their work. This is hurting them and making it harder to provide services to patients. The MDU’s solution is to provide real help now – when our members need it most.’

MDU has said it is ‘able to reassure its GP members’ that its new product meets GMC requirements for indemnity cover and that members who remain with the MDU will ‘remain as secure as members of any other MDO’.