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GPs to consider stopping out-of-hours work unless indemnity is paid



Local GP leaders are planning to vote on whether GPs should withdraw their out-of-hours services if the Government does not directly reimburse their indemnity costs.

The motion to be debated at next week’s English LMCs Conference proposes that the BMA’s GP Committee surveys GPs to consider ‘withdrawing their out-of-hours commitment if direct reimbursement for their out-of-hours indemnity is not provided’.

The motion says this is in response to the rising cost of medical indemnity in England which is ‘making general practice unsustainable and adding to the workforce crisis in England’.

As it stands, the Government is repeating a scheme which sees GPs covered for the cost of additional indemnity required to do additional out-of-hours shifts this winter only.

The conference will also debate a motion to ensure inflationary reimbursement for indemnity costs, such as was negotiated for this year’s GP contract, are ‘recurrent’ and paid ‘directly to the individual GP or practice that is paying the indemnity’. As it stands, practices are reimbursed for costs but individuals are not.

It is already GPC policy to demand that the Government agrees to reimburse in full their indemnity fees, following a vote at the UK LMCs Conference in May this year.

The Government earlier this month announced a state-backed GP indemnity scheme, details of which are yet to be outlined but which it said would cover ‘providers of GP services’ including out-of-hours providers.

But as Pulse later reveald, the Department of Health cannot yet guarantee that GP indemnity costs will be brought down by the scheme, saying that this ‘will depend on negotiations’.

It comes as BMA’s GP Committee warned earlier this year that increases in indemnity costs were set to make the profession ‘untenable’, especially related to changes to the size of compensation payouts.

Pulse delivered a letter to the Department of Health in September signed by more than 300 GPs calling on the Government to ‘fully reimburse the cost of GP indemnity’.

Motion in full

AGENDA COMMITTEE TO BE PROPOSED BY GATESHEAD AND SOUTH TYNESIDE: That conference believes that the rising cost of medical indemnity in England is making general practice unsustainable and adding to the workforce crisis in England, and calls upon GPC England to:

(i) ensure that inflationary reimbursements made by NHS England are recurrent and made directly to the individual GP or practice that is paying the indemnity

(ii) demand that the government must introduce a system of indemnity comparable with secondary care which covers all GPs on the performers list and all NHS GP practice staff.

(iii) survey GPs to consider withdrawing their out-of-hours commitment if direct reimbursement for their out-of-hours indemnity is not provided 

Source: BMA