State GP Indemnity Scheme 'Will Be Implemented Next Year'

Peter Russell

June 14, 2018

The government says it remains fully committed to developing and implementing a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs in England from April 2019.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) had originally pledged to update GPs on the proposals in May but now says further work is needed to "ensure the scheme and its scope is fit for purpose".

In October 2017, the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, said he wanted to address the concerns of doctors about the rising cost of clinical negligence.
 

Ensuring a Scheme is Future-proof

An update published on the department's website said it was working closely with the medical defence organisations and NHS England to include activities delivered under the primary care contracts (GMS, PMS, and APMS) but also wanted to encompass work done under the primary medical care contracts that are delivered in secure environments.

The statement said it wanted to 'future-proof' any scheme to take into account the constantly evolving nature of primary care.

It said the scheme would most likely exclude NHS primary care dentistry, private healthcare, and community pharmacy and optometry.

The DHSC said it was still analysing results from a March 2018 survey of more than 1200 GPs, nurses, and pharmacists to help it understand current indemnity arrangements within general practice in order to shape a new state-backed scheme.

It said it remained committed to delivering a scheme that:

  • Met the needs of current and future GPs and others in primary medical care

  • Was in the interest of patients

  • Represented value for money for taxpayers

'Reassuring'

The DHSC said it was committed to sharing the survey results with the primary care workforce and other organisations 'in due course'.

A spokesman for the Royal College of General Practitioners told Medscape News UK "It's good to have some reassurance that things are progressing ahead of the rollout next year."

Last month, the Welsh government endorsed a state-backed indemnity scheme. Dr Rebecca Payne, Wales chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) praised GPs "who have consistently highlighted how excessive and inflexible indemnity costs are limiting their availability to care for patients".
 

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