Exclusive Health secretary Matt Hancock has hinted the state-backed indemnity scheme – due to start in April – could be funded using GP core funding.
Speaking to Pulse, Mr Hancock said his priority was stopping the cost of indemnity from spiraling ever higher, but when questioned on funding he said the ‘costs have to fall somewhere’.
NHS England is looking at where the money for the long-awaited scheme will come from, as part of the next GP contract negotiations, he explained.
Asked whether the state-backed indemnity scheme will come out of GP core funding, Mr Hancock told Pulse: ‘Clearly the costs of indemnity have been rising sharply.’
‘Those costs have to fall somewhere. And our goal is to stop the rise in those costs and I very much hope that we can support GPs in making sure that system works far better in the future,’ he said.
Mr Hancock continued: ‘The exact nature of the future, where the future liabilities, where the cost of it sits as opposed to the risk, is tied to the negotiations around the GP contract.’
‘NHS England is leading on that,’ he added.
An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘NHS England is supportive of the Government’s proposal for a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs and is working closely with Department for Health and Social Care on its implementation.’
The BMA said it could not comment on the indemnity scheme, including the issue of funding, as negotiations were ongoing.
The state-backed indemnity scheme
The DHSC announced the state backed scheme in October 2017 after acknowledging that 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’.
The NHS long-term plan – released this month – said the new indemnity scheme will be cost neutral.