Select country
Membership information
0800 561 9000
Medicolegal advice
0800 561 9090
Refine my search

An overview of NHS indemnity for IMGs

Post date: 02/03/2023 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 02/03/2023

Dr Rob Hendry, Medical Director of Medical Protection takes you through what NHS indemnity covers for hospital doctors and those in general practice.


Medicine is a hugely rewarding, yet challenging, profession to pursue. It brings with it a great deal of scrutiny and professional accountability, which is why indemnity for clinical negligence claims is so important. If you work for the NHS in the UK, you will usually be protected against the financial consequences of clinical negligence claims through NHS indemnity.

Here’s everything you need to know about NHS indemnity, what it covers, and what it means for you and your career.

What is NHS indemnity?

NHS indemnity is medical indemnity that covers clinical negligence claims made against you while performing the duties listed in your NHS contract. It ensures patients have access to compensation when negligence has been proven in the following circumstances:

  • When receiving an established treatment, whether or not in accordance with an agreed guideline or protocol
  • When receiving a novel or unusual treatment which is judged as appropriate for that individual
  • When taking part in clinical research aimed at benefitting patients now or in the future

NHS indemnity doesn’t cost you anything and provides reassurance that NHS bodies are responsible for meeting the legal and administrative costs of defending an eligible claim or, if appropriate, reaching a settlement with the claimant.

It’s important to note that NHS indemnity is not designed to protect the personal interests of doctors in these cases – just the patients. This is why most doctors arrange additional personal protection, usually through a Medical Defence Organisation (MDO).

NHS indemnity lets you practice legally

As a doctor, you’re required by law to have appropriate medical indemnity or insurance in place before practising in the UK.

Not having adequate indemnity can impact massively on your career. For example, the General Medical Council (GMC) has the power to remove your licence to practise in the UK if they find that you haven’t protected yourself. They can also refuse to grant you a licence if they believe you lack the right indemnity or insurance by the time you start practising.

What NHS indemnity means for hospital doctors

NHS Resolution has financial responsibility for clinical negligence claims brought against doctors and healthcare professionals working in hospitals and community services in England. There are also equivalent organisations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The GMC has a useful guide to NHS indemnity on their website.

NHS indemnity covers clinical negligence claims arising from duties listed in your NHS contract. You are not legally obliged to get additional medical defence cover if you only

undertake NHS contracted work. However, there are situations where NHS indemnity does not apply. For this reason, most doctors consider it essential to arrange additional protection.


What NHS indemnity means for general practice

Since April 2019, NHS Resolution has also had financial responsibility for clinical negligence claims brought against doctors and other healthcare professionals working in general practice. There is an equivalent arrangement in Wales, but not currently in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

NHS Resolution sets out the scope of the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice on their website. As with hospital doctors, there are many situations where NHS indemnity does not apply and GPs need to arrange additional indemnity and protection.


Medical defence alongside NHS indemnity

Medical defence provides doctors with an additional level of protection against the possible consequences of problems arising from professional practice.

With Medical Protection by your side, you can rest assured that your career, reputation and financial security are in safe hands should an incident occur.

Find out more about how Medical Protection membership fills the gaps left by NHS indemnity and the benefits of membership you will have access to from the day you join.


About the author

Rob Hendry is Medical Director at Medical Protection, working with members around the world. He has a particular interest in supporting doctors who move between different countries and has championed Medical Protection’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy.


Share this article

New site feature tour

Introducing an improved
online experience

You'll notice a few things have changed on our website. After asking our members what they want in an online platform, we've made it easier to access our membership benefits and created a more personalised user experience.

Why not take our quick 60-second tour? We'll show you how it all works and it should only take a minute.

Take the tour Continue to site

Medicolegal advice
0800 561 9090
Membership information
0800 561 9000

Key contact details

Should you need to contact us, our phone numbers are always visible.

Personalise your search

We'll save your profession in the "I am a..." dropdown filter for next time.

Tour completed

Now you've seen all of the updated features, it's time for you to try them out.

Continue to site
Take again