Over the past 18 months I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals across the globe, from South Africa to Ireland, Hong Kong to New Zealand. A message I’ve heard loud and clear is that people want to know more about what is happening at MPS.
In that spirit, I would like to start by sharing news about the UK government announcing the planned development of a state-backed indemnity scheme for English GPs. Whilst this will not impact MPS members outside of the UK, it is a subject that might be of interest.
Earlier this year, the UK government decided to lower the personal injury discount rate. This substantially increased the cost of clinical negligence, particularly for English GPs.
Campaigning hard for our members
We have been campaigning hard for our members and have strongly argued that GPs as public servants should not be left to pick up the bill for the UK government’s decision to change the way personal injury payments are calculated.
The UK government have announced that they are looking to develop a state-backed indemnity scheme for English GPs. We believe that this will be a similar arrangement to the existing state indemnity scheme for NHS hospital doctors, and is likely to be 12 to 18 months away. It will not impact those treating private patients.
This is welcome news for GPs treating public patients. We have spent the last few months in intensive discussions with the Government, helping to shape their proposals for GPs in England. We are continuing these discussions and working to ensure that GPs are treated fairly and provided with an acceptable level of support. There is a possibility that we may play a role in the administration of the new scheme.
So what does this mean?
An NHS indemnity scheme would only provide claims indemnity for clinical negligence claims arising from NHS-contracted work. It will not include support for important issues like protection against medical council inquiries, disciplinary proceedings and complaints. It will also not impact those doctors treating private patients.
We believe that many GPs would therefore still want to retain their membership with Medical Protection if the NHS indemnity proposals are implemented - just as NHS hospital doctors have done since NHS indemnity was introduced for them in 1990.
MPS is a large and diverse organisation that offers a range of benefits to members. For some, this includes protection against clinical negligence claims. Equally, a large number of our members around the world – for example 60,000 hospital doctors in the UK, 17,000 healthcare professionals in New Zealand and thousands more public doctors in South Africa and Hong Kong – hold membership with us that excludes protection against claims as the state will cover their liability.
No impact for International members
These changes for English GPs will have no impact on members or our operations outside of the UK.
We are continuing to invest new resources to support members around the world. Our recently appointed Regional Director for Asia, Harris Shum, will lead the team at our new office in Singapore, and we’ll be shortly opening a new office in South Africa.
We have protected healthcare professionals around the world for over 70 years and remain committed to continuing this protection for another 70 years.
Executive Director International