The Clinical Indemnity Scheme: What is it, and why it may not be enough

18 July 2023

Complaints to the Medical Council, Garda inquiries and disciplinary hearings are all daunting prospects for every doctor, and the limitations of the Clinical Indemnity Scheme (CIS) mean you will potentially face them alone.

Furthermore, if you work in general practice or a private hospital, the CIS will not cover you for the financial consequences of a claim for clinical negligence.

This is where Medical Protection comes in.


Medical Protection membership

Although the cost of clinical negligence claims accounts for the majority of our expenditure, most of the cases we handle involve assisting members with other medicolegal and ethical enquiries, such as a complaint to the Irish Medical Council (IMC) or a disciplinary procedure, which can have serious consequences for a doctor’s reputation and career.

The financial cost of preparation and representation for an average three-day Fitness to Practise inquiry would leave little change from €50,000.

The CIS is there to ensure patients who experience harm as a result of substandard care are compensated. Its primary purpose is not to protect you, or your professional interests – this is where Medical Protection can help.


What does Medical Protection membership provide?

Emergency telephone advisory service available 24/7, 365 days of the year.  Members can phone us for confidential, specialist medicolegal advice to help resolve everyday dilemmas, as well as more complex scenarios arising from professional practice.

Specialist legal advice and representation – For a range of circumstances which are not supported by the CIS, such as disciplinary hearings and IMC Fitness to Practise proceedings.

Handling complaints – If you become the subject of a complaint, we can help you formulate a response and support you through to its resolution.

Writing reports – We can help with preparing a report for the coroner and offer advice and representation at an inquest.

Media and press relations – Medical Protection can issue statements and act as a spokesperson should a case or complaint against you receive unwanted media attention.

Criminal proceedings – We can help members who are the subject of a Garda investigation that arose directly from their provision of clinical care to patients.

Indemnity – Medical Protection can provide you with full protection against a claim as state indemnity does not. When we take care of a member's case, we can take care of all the legal costs and compensation payments. Indemnity cover for Good Samaritan Acts worldwide.


Information and risk management

We are committed to helping you avoid problems and provide the best care for your patients. Using our wealth of knowledge and experience we have developed a range of risk management resources to help reduce your exposure to complaints and claims. For publications, conferences, lectures, workshops, E–learning and clinical risk self-assessments (CRSAs)


Limitations of the CIS

The table below shows the limitations of the CIS compared to the benefits of membership offered by Medical Protection. For more information on the benefits of membership you can also visit, or contact us.





For un-indemnified work, including Good Samaritan Acts and voluntary work

For public hospital [SP1] work and good Samaritan acts only

24/7 confidential, emergency medicolegal advice line



IMC proceedings arising from professional matters



Support and representation for hospital disciplinary hearings arising from clinical practice



Help to prepare responses to complaints from patients



Criminal matters arising from clinical practice, e.g., manslaughter



Support with report writing and representation in a Coroner’s Court



Support with media relations,
by preparing statements and
acting as a spokesperson







We put members first

The CIS is focused on ensuring that patients who are harmed have access to appropriate compensation. Our whole ethos is focused on putting your needs first and doing our best to help you in your professional practice in whatever way we can.

We remain independent and mutual, which means we can continue to focus on what’s best for members and nothing else.