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Adopting a considered approach in a time of uncertainty

25 October 2017

We understand that the current indemnity situation for GPs can be confusing and uncertain following the Government’s recent announcement that it is to develop a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs in England.

The details are still being developed, which is why now is not the time for rushed decisions, but for a steady and informed approach.

The recent addendum to the Government’s statement is proof in point. Having launched a new, and supposedly ‘cut price’ product within hours of the Government’s announcement, the MDU have since been forced to provide additional clarification on what is actually included in the new product.

This followed the Government’s indication that MDU members with the new indemnity product will need to pay for additional cover before they join the state-backed indemnity scheme. The MDU had assumed that claims reported by their GP members after the introduction of the state-backed scheme would be picked up by the state, at no extra cost to the member, which the Government has now confirmed is unlikely to be the case.

Instead, all MDU GP members will be required to purchase additional ‘run off’ protection, unless they stay with the MDU and pay standard subscriptions until they retire, in which case the additional ‘run off’ costs would presumably be incorporated in to their ongoing fees.

Locking members into membership in this way is controversial enough, but this is compounded by the fact the MDU’s GP members in England are being compulsorily transferred to the new indemnity for claims arising from their NHS contracted work. With the only option being a product which seems to be offering substantially less than the indemnity that was previously provided, MDU’s GP members will have no choice other than to pay for the additional protection, or to commit to remaining an MDU member until they retire, if they don’t want to risk having gaps in their indemnity.

Your member benefits

As a Medical Protection member, you continue to have access to the same level of indemnity protection that you have always had, including access to impartial advice and expert support for complaints, GMC inquiries, inquests and disciplinary proceedings - none of which will be included as part of the state-backed indemnity scheme.

In addition, you also have the right to request assistance for any complaint or claim arising from an adverse incident that takes place during your membership with Medical Protection – even if it is brought years later, or after you have left membership.

Future protection is essential given that it can be 5 years or more between an incident taking place and the notification of a claim, but is not something that GP members of the MDU will necessarily be able to count on. Indeed, given the Government’s announcement, if those members leave the MDU – or even to transfer to the state-backed scheme while they have an ongoing claim, they will receive no support for this unless they have paid additional subscriptions for extended protection.

We will continue to push for the best possible outcome

The next few months will be important, as the Government start to shape the proposed state-backed indemnity scheme. We will continue to work with the Government to ensure that they put the interests of GPs first, and remain focused on delivering a solution that works.

The new scheme is not expected to be in place until April 2019, and so it is imperative that you maintain an appropriate and adequate level of indemnity in the meantime.

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