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Indemnity provider calls for clarity over state-backed scheme

The Government needs to clarify who and what will be covered in the new state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs in England, the Medical Protection Society (MPS) has said.

The indemnity provider argued that, as it stands, it is unclear ‘what is and is not covered in the new scheme, particularly concerning non-NHS work’, causing distress among its members.

It said it was also unclear who will and will not be covered, adding that the scheme ‘should reflect and support new ways of delivering primary care and be as simple as possible for practices’.

Speaking at the Westminster Health Forum conference on the future of general practice, MPS medical director Dr Rob Hendry said that the Department of Health has to address a number of key issues to ensure GPs are protected against claims.

He called on the DH to involve ‘clinical negligence experts, and those with a detailed understanding of primary care and the needs of GPs’ throughout the development of the scheme.

He also said the DH has to ensure GPs have a ‘smoth transition’ from their existing indemnity defence schemes to the state-run version.

Dr Hendry said: ‘These are the issues our members would like greater certainty on at this time, so they can make informed decisions that meet their needs both now and in the future.

‘We will continue to push the Government to ensure swift progress is made and that GPs get that much needed certainty.’

The news comes after the Medical Defence Union saw a backlash after overhauling their policy in light of DH’s indemnity announcement two months ago.

The DH warned GPs who took out the cut-price indemnity policy would not be covered for the period up until the state-backed scheme is launched.

But the MDU wrote to GPs to ask them to help it push for the DH scheme to include ‘all historic liabilities for the benefit of all GPs’.

The DH has since said that reductions in GP indemnity costs ‘will depend on negotiations’ and cannot yet be guaranteed.