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GP state-backed indemnity – what we know so far

Four months after it was announced, we look at what we know about the Government’s planned state-backed scheme for GPs in England.

It has been a little over 4 months since the Government announced its intention to launch a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs in England. During this time we have continued our discussions with the Government, stressing that the final scheme, when agreed, will need to provide GPs with an acceptable level of support.

We have also pushed the Government for further details of the scheme, including a decision on who will be running it. To date, the Government has advised that NHS Resolution will have responsibility for the overall administration of the scheme, but it has yet to decide whether or not it will be run on a day-to-day basis by them or a third party.

Also still to be addressed are the details regarding the scope and cost of the scheme to GPs. The Government has said it envisages that the new scheme will provide GPs in England with indemnity against clinical negligence claims arising from NHS contracted work, protecting them just as NHS hospital doctors are protected. There are no plans for the new scheme to include indemnity for non-contracted NHS work or support for complaints, GMC inquiries, inquests and disciplinary proceedings, although we will continue to offer this support to GP members, just as we have for hospital doctors since NHS indemnity was introduced for them in 1990.
We anticipate that the scheme will provide clinical negligence cover at some level above practice level, but at what level is still unclear, with GPs and staff - including students and trainees, being covered by their practice.

Like you, we are keen for the Government to finalise the scheme details and are frustrated at the slow progress we have seen to date.  Our discussions with the Government are ongoing, and we continue to work to the proposed launch date of April 2019. We will share further information with you as it becomes available. In the meantime, why not find out more by reading our detailed case studies and Q&As.

We are continuing to have discussions with the devolved administrations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland about their future plans for GP indemnity. To date no decisions have been made.

We also continue to have regular contact with the BMA and RCGP on the matter of state indemnity.

In addition to our ongoing conversations with the Government regarding the new indemnity scheme, we are also continuing to actively campaign against the rising costs of clinical negligence, calling for a cap on the fees lawyers can charge, particularly in cases involving low-value claims, and reform of tort law to bring down costs. You can read more about our Striking a Balance campaign here.