In February 2017, the Government made a substantial change to the way in which personal injury compensation payments are calculated. The decision to lower the personal injury discount rate (PIDR) saw the rate at which payments are calculated fall from 2.5% to minus 0.75%, resulting in a significant increase to the cost of settling large clinical negligence claims, especially for GPs.
There have been a couple of recent developments regarding clinical negligence indemnity. The first was an announcement in September from the Government that they are to reform how the discount rate is set in future, and most recently, the Government announced that they are to develop a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs in England.
The Government swiftly followed up the state-backed indemnity announcement with an addendum (found at the bottom of page 3 in the PDF) to their original statement, where they highlighted the reduced scope of the MDU’s ‘half price’ indemnity product, that was launched following the state-backed announcement.
In their addendum, the Government makes it absolutely clear that they do not currently plan to include any run-off cover as part of the state-backed scheme. This means GPs with claims-paid or claims-made indemnity arrangements would be required to purchase separate cover themselves at the point they move to a state-backed scheme.
What does this mean for me?
When introduced, the state-backed indemnity scheme will provide indemnity against clinical negligence claims arising from NHS contracted work, in a similar arrangement to the NHS indemnity scheme that already exists for NHS hospital doctors. Indemnity for non-contracted NHS work and support for complaints, GMC inquiries, inquests and disciplinary proceedings will not be included, although we will continue to offer this support to GP members, just as we have for hospital doctors since NHS indemnity was introduced for them in 1990.
The details of the scheme are still to be developed, and we anticipate that it is likely to be around 12-18 months before any new arrangement is in place. In the meantime, it is imperative that you maintain your existing membership to ensure that you have appropriate and adequate indemnity in place.
You can read more about the planned state-backed indemnity scheme, learn what this means for you as a GP, and find out why we are still calling on the Government to do more.
Campaigning for you
We have been absolutely clear that GPs should not have to shoulder any additional financial burden as a result of the Government’s decision to amend the PIDR, and have consistently pushed the Government to put the interests of GPs first.
We have spent the last few months in intensive discussions with the Government, helping to shape the proposed scheme and ensuring that it would provide GPs with an acceptable level of support. Now the announcement has been made, we will continue working with the Government to ensure they remain focused on delivering a solution that works for GPs.
We know you’ll have questions
We know that you will have questions, so have added some Q&As to the page to help provide you with more information. We have also added some case studies to illustrate the effect that the PIDR change is having on the cost of clinical negligence claims. Please see below for links to these.
Making a difference
If you are interested in learning more about what we are doing to tackle the wider issue of clinical negligence costs, then please visit our Striking a Balance campaign page.