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How do I make sure all my staff have appropriate indemnity?

We all know that GP indemnity costs are spiralling out of control, with Pulse reporting that they rose by an average of 25.5% in 12 months leading up to November last year. But what about indemnity for your clinical staff?

The Healthcare and Associated Professions (Indemnity Arrangements) Order 2014 requires all practising, regulated healthcare professionals to hold appropriate indemnity or insurance arrangements, as a condition of their registration with their regulatory body. But in talking to GPs, I’ve found that certain indemnity arrangements have left their staff without the necessary cover, which can be dangerous for the practice as well as the affected staff.

Why might my nurse not be appropriately indemnified?

There are numerous cases I have seen where GPs believe their nurses to be covered but due to the particular arrangement within a practice or federation, adequate cover is not in place. This may because of hiring locums which aren’t covered by the practice policy, because the doctors’ MDO does not include nurses, because the nurse’s own individual cover has lapsed or the practice policy omits nurses.

Problems arise when nurses work between multiple surgeries. It may be that a nurse is covered under their ‘home’ surgery policy but if they work across a number of surgeries within a group or federation, the cover may be inoperative.

What is the best way to get a good deal on indemnity for my clinical staff?

A properly arranged practice insurance policy can be extended to cover all nurses including locums. In addition a federation policy can cover multiple nurses across multiple surgeries. Insurance is flexible and the key is to tell the insurers what you want and ensure that any policy is fit for purpose.

Whole practice indemnity tends to be cheaper because insurance works on scale and risk management. If a number of GPs, clinicians, nurses and support staff are buying insurance collectively then they achieve an economy of scale. If multiple surgeries form a federation and employ common best practices then significant discounts can be obtained compared to single surgery policies or individual clinician cover.

The devil is, of course, in the detail so a specialist broker is recommended, alongside consulting the MDOs. Increased competition is pushing prices down but this must never be at the expense of adequate cover. Insurers can flex their products to meet individual needs, be these for nurses across multiple practices, advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) cover, extended hours or whole federation indemnity. Give some thought to your specific needs and then engage with experts to obtain a range of quotes.

How does this differ depending on the member of staff’s role?

The cost of indemnity will depend on the level of specialism. The cover for practice nurses and ANPs should be the same but the pricing will be different.

For pharmacists and physician associates the situation is similar. Although MDOs may be reluctant to extend cover to pharmacists and PAs, or at least if they do the premiums are prohibitive. The insurance industry looks at the wider picture of what role the clinician has, the training, the experience, the supervision and also what the CPD requirements are. 

Kevin Culliney is Head of Healthcare at Lockton, the world’s largest privately owned insurance broker