It has been eight months since the UK Government announced it was planning to launch a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs in England, and in that time few details have been revealed about the scheme, which is due to launch in April 2019.
With just ten months to go until the expected launch, GPs are understandably keen to learn what will, and will not, be included. We have continued to push the Government for further details, including a decision on who will be running the scheme, but to date, few additional details have been released.
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.
Like you, we are keen for the Government to finalise the scheme details and understand the frustration at the slow progress that has been 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 also continuing our discussions with the Welsh Government regarding their planned state-backed scheme, which was announced in May (with a planned roll-out in April 2019), and with the devolved administrations of Scotland and Northern Ireland about their future plans for GP indemnity. We are also in regular contact with the BMA and RCGP on the matter of state indemnity.
Against this backdrop, we continue 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.