The introduction of state-backed indemnity on 1 April has been widely welcomed by GPs and others working in general practice, particularly since it has become clear that individuals will not need to pay for the new scheme directly.
Ever since the scheme was announced in October 2017, MPS has pushed hard for it to provide comprehensive support to healthcare professionals working in general practice who receive a claim for clinical negligence.
After many months of negotiations with the UK Government, we are pleased to say that we have secured a good outcome for MPS general practice members in England.
Clinical negligence claims arising from adverse incidents before 1 April 2019
Alongside the well-publicised Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice (CNSGP) for new claims after 1 April, arrangements for an Existing Liabilities Scheme (ELS) will be established shortly.
Under the ELS arrangements, the Government will assume responsibility for all existing claims against GPs, as well as claims that are brought in the future where the adverse incident date was before 1 April 2019 and related to treatment under a NHS contract.
You will be able to turn to the Government backed ELS for help no matter when in the future you become aware of a claim against you.
This is a really positive outcome, as all these claims – however much they settle for or however long in to the future they settle – will now be the responsibility of the UK Government. This mirrors the approach that was taken for hospital doctors when their arrangements were introduced in 1990, and is something we have argued for since the proposals for state-backed general practice indemnity were first announced.
Discussions with the Welsh Government to secure a similar arrangement for members in Wales are at an advanced stage and we will communicate with members once a clear outcome has been reached. General practice members in Wales should continue to approach MPS direct with any claims or concerns about adverse incidents that occurred before 1 April 2019.
Management of clinical negligence claims
To ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements, MPS will continue to manage existing claims for the next two years. After two years, claims will be managed by NHS Resolution.
NHS Resolution already has extensive experience of managing clinical negligence claims on behalf of NHS Trusts, and we will use the next two years to share our specific expertise in the management of general practice claims, so you continue to benefit from high standards of claims management beyond this period.
We know just how important your professional reputation is to you. So we will continue to ensure your reputation is protected by offering medicolegal advice and assistance for GMC proceedings, complaints, coroners’ inquests, disciplinary matters, criminal investigations and all other issues arising out of your professional practice
Funding for the new Existing Liabilities Scheme
MPS will be making a substantial contribution to the Government to help fund the new Existing Liabilities Scheme. This will come from the subscriptions that you, and other general practice members in England, have contributed to the MPS membership fund in previous years. We have done this so the state-backed scheme can offer you and other general practice members consistent and comprehensive support for clinical negligence claims long into the future.
No additional payments needed
You may be aware that the Government and NHS Resolution have said some GPs and others working in general practice will need to purchase additional ‘run-off cover’. This does not apply to MPS members. You have already paid subscriptions that reflect the risk that is likely to arise from your practice and there is no need for you to make any additional payment. The requirement will only affect GPs and others working in general practice who had alternative insurance arrangements or were a member of an MDO who offered less comprehensive membership benefits.
You can find out more about what the Existing Liabilities Scheme will means for you on our Q&As page.