The National Health Service (Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice) Regulations 2019 (the Scheme), which comes into force on 1 April 2019, are likely to significantly reduce indemnity costs for GPs.
All NHS GP service providers in England will be able to access the Scheme free of charge. This includes partners, salaried GPs, locums, prison GPs, out-of-hours providers and other healthcare providers such as pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists and trainees. All GP practice employees and contractors will be covered under the Scheme, including management, reception and administrative staff.
The Welsh Government have announced plans to implement a similar Scheme.
The Scheme will cover clinical negligence claims for work carried out as part of the delivery of NHS services under a GMS, PMS or APMS contract.
For cover under the Scheme to be valid, NHS Resolutions and the Department of Health and Social Care will need to be notified of the claim prior to any admission of liability, court proceedings or settlement.
The Scheme will not cover non-NHS or private work and does not cover NHS dentistry, optometry or community pharmacy. Legal representation for GMC hearings, disciplinary investigations and complaints (unless made with an accompanying claim for compensation) is also not covered under the Scheme.
Cover will apply automatically to those eligible under the Scheme from 1 April 2019, meaning there is no membership requirements, forms to be filled in or fees to pay before that date.
GPs will need to continue to maintain additional medical indemnity cover for all non-NHS activities and other work not covered under the Scheme.
GPs whose current indemnity cover is not occurrence-based (that is to say where cover is only triggered at the date of notification of the claim, as opposed to when the incident occurred), may need to consider obtaining 'run-off' cover in the event of any claim being made once they have stopped working.