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New GP contract brings changes to indemnity rules

Jan 31, 2019

NHS England bosses have today announced a new five-year contract for GP services in England which includes the introduction of indemnity state backed scheme.

The new deal – described by the NHS as the biggest reform to GP services in 15 years – follows a series of negotiations between the Government and key health stakeholders.

The Medical Defense Society has been engaged in talks about the changes, which come into effect in April and introduce a state backed indemnity scheme to cover some of the activities carried out by GPs.

CEO Rohan Simon said: “We are happy to support any policy that contributes towards helping our members. While we think there are elements of this new scheme that will help, we are concerned that there are factors that have not been addressed in this plan.

“There are a number of other factors that have contributed to indemnity costs and these are not addressed by this move. We believe issues such as fees charged by lawyers, tort law and the discount rate on negligence pay-outs need to be considered too.

“ We remain committed to lobbying for the best possible deal for GPs and MDS will be creating a new package for our members to embrace the new changes in the GP contract.”

Medical Defense Society will offer a pro rata refund to members on the portion of fees paid for cover of medical malpractice claims.

Each MDS member will receive individual contact with details about what their new fees will be.

The new state backed indemnity rules

The new rules announced today are in line with the details outlined in our previous post.

The new scheme aims to provide indemnity from cases of clinical negligence that come from NHS activities that are within the scope of the scheme.

The Government says it wants to cut the cost of indemnity and introduce a new process that is similar to the NHS indemnity scheme that has existed for hospital doctors since 1990.

Importantly, however, the new scheme does not cover:

  • Non-NHS work – eg DVLA work or employee medical assessments
  • General Medical Council inquiries
  • Inquests
  • Court proceedings
  • NHS England complaints/investigations
  • Access to medico-legal advice.

On this basis we advise that GPs continue to maintain their membership with the MDO.

For more details on this, check out our guide to the state backed indemnity scheme.

If you want to talk about the state-backed indemnity scheme – or any other matters relating your cover as a GP – contact us today.