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GP indemnity becomes legal requirement

GPs are now legally required to have professional indemnity insurance to protect them in case they are sued, at a time when indemnity fees are rising.

Previously, the GMC required GPs to have indemnity cover where necessary, but since August GPs are legally required to have cover to comply with a European Union directive.

The Department of Health has introduced a legal requirement giving healthcare regulators powers to require all registrants to have adequate and appropriate indemnity.

The directive is to guarantee that patients from one EU state who seek treatment in another have access to redress if something goes wrong, according to the Medical Defence Union.

This month, the Family Doctor Association reported that GP indemnity costs have increased by 25% in just one year, with the average annual fee for a GP doing 10 sessions a week going up to £11,320.

Earlier this year, Pulse reported that one GP was quoted £30,000 for annual indemnity by one provider.

Some GPs have signed deals with insurance brokers has independently of the medical defence organisations due to concerns over rising fees.

Matthew Lee, director of professional services at the MDU, said clinical negligence claims against GPs are increasing. 

‘The number of new GP claims notified to us has been rising by over 15% a year for the past five years and compensation awards are also increasing steadily.’