New indemnity scheme for general practice introduced

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GPs will benefit from comprehensive indemnity cover for future NHS clinical negligence claims under a new government-backed scheme.

The Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice is designed to provide more stable and affordable indemnity cover for GPs. Cover will be provided automatically and at no charge to GPs.

The scheme will provide cover for all GPs and their practice teams for clinical negligence incidents, relating to provision of NHS primary medical services, occuring from 1 April 2019.

The scheme will be administered by NHS Resolution on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. It will allow the government to have greater oversight of costs and claims.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has also committed to put an existing liabilities scheme (ELS) in place subject to reaching agreement with the medical defence organisations. This would cover claims for historical NHS clinical negligence liabilities.

As part of this commitment, DHSC has agreed commercial terms with the Medical Protection Society (MPS) covering NHS clinical negligence claims made against their GP members in respect of liabilities arising before 1 April 2019.

NHS Resolution will have oversight of the arrangements for the new scheme and, for an interim period, claims handling will be retained by the MPS. Discussions are ongoing with other medical defence organisations.

The introduction of the scheme delivers an important part of the GP contract for 2019 to 2020. The extra support for GPs follows commitments which made primary care central to the NHS Long Term Plan. It will help improve the recruitment and retention of GPs.

The Long Term Plan aims to bring up to 20,000 extra staff into general practice by 2023 to 2024, including pharmacists and social prescribing link workers. This would free up GPs to spend more time with patients who need them most.

Minister of State for Care, Caroline Dinenage, said:

GPs are the bedrock of the NHS and they are at the heart of delivering the Long Term Plan.

The launch of a new government-backed scheme as part of a landmark new contract demonstrates our clear commitment to supporting a sustainable future for general practice.

This new scheme will bring significant benefits to general practice staff, bringing arrangements in line with those for NHS trusts so GPs and their staff can focus on continuing to provide excellent care to patients, knowing they have comprehensive cover in place.

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