The Minister for Health recently announced that state-backed indemnity will be made available to GPs, nurses and pharmacists who are participating in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.
We explain what this includes and what it means for members' indemnity arrangements with Medical Protection.
Overview of the State Claims Agency (SCA) arrangements
“Registered medical practitioners (including GPs); nurses (including nurses employed by GPs or GP practices); and pharmacists in receipt of and adhering to relevant training with regard to the administration of the vaccine and acting on the direction of, or on behalf of, the HSE, will be indemnified with regard to any adverse events arising from or related to the vaccine or their administration of the vaccine; provided always that each of them does not act negligently or in breach of the recommended guidelines concerning the storage, handling, use and administration of the vaccine product; and provided also that each of them fully co-operates with the State Claims Agency in defending any claim and provides all reasonable assistance requested of them including the making of any claim against any third parties (subject to being indemnified in respect of the same) for an indemnity or contribution.”
What this means for members' indemnity with Medical Protection
• The indemnity offered by the State is limited to adverse events arising from or related to the vaccine or its administration – subject to a list of exclusions. It does not extend to any harm arising from acts of negligence or breach of the guidelines in relation to the storage, use or administration of the vaccine.
• Medical Protection members can however request assistance with claims arising from alleged acts of negligence or breach of the guidelines in relation to the storage, use or administration of the vaccine.
• Support such as medicolegal advice, complaint handling and disciplinary matters are not part of the state-backed indemnity scheme, which provides protection against the financial consequences of any adverse events arising from the vaccine itself or its administration.
• Medical Protection members can request assistance with a range of issues other than clinical negligence claims – including medicolegal advice, complaint handling and disciplinary matters – should they arise as a result of assistance with the State COVID-19 vaccination work during this period.
• Where a member already has claims indemnity for vaccinations as part of their membership – which is routine for GP and practice nurse memberships – and wishes to increase their hours purely to support the state vaccination programme, they would not be charged any additional subscription for that work.
• Retired Medical Protection members returning from retired membership in order to assist with the State COVID vaccination programme, who benefit from the state-backed indemnity and have been reinstated on the Medical Register, will be provided with non-claims assistance at no cost and with no requirement to reactivate membership.
• However, if returning retired members wish to have access to claims indemnity from Medical Protection, they would need to contact Medical Protection and reinstate their membership.
• Finally, please note that the state-backed indemnity scheme also only applies to vaccines administered as part of the HSE organised vaccine process and would not apply to vaccines administered on a private basis. If members intend to administer COVID vaccines on a private basis, they need to contact Medical Protection to check that this is included in their scope of membership.
If you have any questions regarding this updated guidance, please contact us on 1800 932 916 or at [email protected]