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MDU announces it is halving cost of GP subscriptions from next month

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has said it is writing to all GPs and primary care staff working in England to announce a 50% cost in indemnity subscriptions from next month.

It is in response to the announcement by health secretary Jeremy Hunt today to establish a state-backed indemnity scheme from 2019 that will cover all GPs for all NHS work.

The MDU said that any renewal or new subscription from 1 November will ’see subscription quotes around 50% lower than current levels’.

In a statement, it said: ’This reflects the MDU’s expectation that claims arising from NHS primary care provided since the announcement, will, in due course be picked up by the new NHS scheme. In this transitional period, members can continue to report claims to the MDU as normal and all other benefits of membership are unaffected. The discounted subscriptions apply to the whole practice team for work under an NHS England contract.’

Dr Christine Tomkins, MDU chief executive, said: ’We are pleased to see the Government’s announcement today of a state-backed indemnity scheme for general practice in England. To be workable, the scheme will not only need to pick up new GP claims, but also claims costs which have not already been paid for GPs working under an NHS England contract.

’This will be a welcome development for GPs, especially those who have taken part in our ”Save General Practice” campaign and helped to bring about this change. In the meantime, we want to pass on to our primary care members in England, some of the savings we anticipate will follow the scheme’s introduction. This means significantly reduced subscriptions for our members working in primary care in England, which is great news at a time when GPs are struggling with indemnity costs.’

Mr Hunt today announced that the state-backed scheme will form part of the negotiations for the 2018 contract, but it will be introduced in April 2019.

He guaranteed that the scheme will cover all GPs – including locums and sessional GPs – for all their NHS work, but stopped short of including other practice staff, contrary to previous reports.

The MDDUS announced last month that it was freezing all cost increases after the Government’s decision to roll back on reducing the ‘discount rate’, which would have seen the cost of claims rocket.

However, Pulse revealed that GPs were still facing price increases of up to 12%.