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Medical defence subs soaring

Exclusive: Medical defence indemnity costs have risen far faster than inflation in the past 12 months, Pulse has learned.

The Medical Defence Union said average subs for salaried GP doing eight sessions a week increased to £5,605 in 2012/13 from £5,040 in 2011/12, a rise of 11.2%, while subs for an eight-session GP partner have increased to £6,200 from £5,995, a rise of 3.4%.

The Medical Protection Society declined to provide equivalent figures, but conceded its fees had increased.

Dr Edoardo Cervoni, a locum GP in Merseyside, said his fees with the MDU had increased to £6,690 from £4,561 in 2011/12. He said he was left ‘speechless' by this ‘astonishing' rise.

‘I don't know of any other industry where you pay 10% of your salary in professional insurance,' he said.

He said he believed the increases stemmed from a lack of competition in the market.  

But Dr Stephanie Bown, director of policy and communications at MPS said: ‘Subscription rates for GPs have increased over the last year as a result of the rising number and value of GP claims. Subscription rates vary based on the individual's needs and scope of practice.'

The MDU said it had opened 17% more medical claims files, seen an 18% rise in requests for MDU assistance with GMC investigations, and a 56% increase in disciplinary cases against GP and hospital doctor members, compared with the previous year.

Dr Christine Tomkins, MDU chief executive, said: ‘Our members are turning to us for support and advice at a time of unprecedented change in both the medico-legal climate and their working environment.'