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Extended Liability

Post date: 30/06/2017 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 24/07/2018

The prospect of a claim being made in relation to other healthcare professionals in practice e.g. healthcare assistants is often a cause for concern.

In any type of work, an employer is usually responsible for the negligence of its staff. In a GP partnership this means partners usually have responsibility for the acts and omissions of healthcare professionals and staff they employ.

For this reason we don’t provide individual membership for other staff employed by the practice, including administrative staff and:

  • Healthcare assistants
  • Phlebotomists
  • Dispensers

As these groups are working under Patient Specific Directions, adhering to practice protocols and guidelines, and not making independent clinical decisions, it is not necessary for them to have individual membership.


If a claim of negligence is brought against a clinical or administrative member of staff without individual membership, GP partners with Medical Protection membership are entitled to request assistance from us if it can be shown the staff member was:

  • acting under appropriately delegated authority
  • adequately trained and supervised
  • working to practice protocols
  • not making standalone clinical judgements.

Where GP partners in a practice have different indemnity or insurance providers we would be likely to assist our members with their share of liability in proportion to their partnership interests.

For example if three out of four partners in a practice are Medical Protection members, assuming each partner holds a 25% interest, we could assist with a maximum of 75% of the liability.

However, it is often easiest for claims and complaints to be resolved if all the GP partners have a single indemnity provider. This streamlines the defence process and causes less disruption for members. Where possible, we recommend all partners in a Practice Xtra practice are Medical Protection members.

We still expect nurses and other clinical staff eg. pharmacists and paramedics to have individual membership arrangements due to the degree of autonomy their role involves and increased risk associated with this.

We also provide individual membership for practice managers to make it easier to manage the practice group scheme


In the past, staff protected under the principle of vicarious / extended liability (e.g. healthcare assistants, dispensers and phlebotomists) were restricted to working only in their employing practice.

It is now possible for healthcare assistants, dispensers and phlebotomists employed by a Practice Xtra Gold practice to be ‘lent’ to another Practice Xtra Gold practice.

It is also possible for a Practice Xtra Gold practice to ‘borrow’ healthcare assistants, dispensers and phlebotomists from any other practice.

In the event of a clinical negligence claim, Practice Xtra Gold level members have the right to request assistance in relation to staff members undertaking work in the practice who are employed by another practice or organisation provided:

  • They don’t have an individual indemnity or insurance arrangement
  • They are temporarily ‘on loan’ ( cover absence or unforeseen demand) or there is an agreement in place between practices to provide services under their GMS, PMS or APMS contract
  • Borrowed staff provide short-term cover must be used in a like-for-like capacity
  • No more than two staff members per full-time equivalent Medical Protection GP member can be borrowed at any one time.

This excludes nurses undertaking level 6 duties, where their scope of practice means individual membership is always required.

Where a practice ‘lends’ healthcare assistants, dispensers and phlebotomists to another practice that does not have a Practice Xtra gold scheme they would not be entitled to seek assistance from Medical Protection in the event of a complaint or claim being made during the loan period.

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