Ask Andy: When will indemnity fees go down?
Indemnity fees have been a talking point in the last year, with steep rises affecting GPs and hospital doctors. New developments may mean that indemnity fees go down, but it’s by no means guaranteed.
Civil Liability Bill
The Civil Liability Bill is currently making its way through the House of Lords, and the outcome may well determine whether indemnity prices will finally stop soaring. It’s well documented that the cost of clinical negligence has been a major factor in rising overall costs.
At the heart of the issue is the discount rate used by the courts to work out the amount of compensation due. The discount rate was cut in March 2017, and this led to substantial increases in the amounts awarded. One of the proposals in the Civil Liability Bill is to raise the discount rate again. Healthcare leaders have led the call to reverse the change to try and ease financial pressure on the NHS.
New GP Indemnity Scheme
Details of the new state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs are due to be announced this month. The government has said that the scheme will be available from April 2019 and will be run by NHS Resolution. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has pledged that the scheme will cover all GPs, including those working out of hours. Answers are still pending on whether run-off cover will be included and whether the scheme will be funded with ‘new money’ or rebadged funds.
Only English GPs were originally to be covered by the new government scheme, but the Welsh government have recently announced that they will fund a similar scheme to help with indemnity fees. There has been no news on similar developments in Scotland or Northern Ireland, so the promise of 5,000 extra GPs by 2020 seems ambitious.
Most importantly, the NHS scheme will not cover GPs for NHSE complaints, GMC investigations or civil cases.
Practitioners will still need to have separate cover from an MDO or a commercial insurer. They need this in order to be protected and have legal support for all of their work.
Update for Private Practitioners
The BMA’s Private Practice Conference was held in April, and covered a range of issues pertinent to those working in independent healthcare. The conference included a panel on ‘The changing face of mandatory indemnity for doctors in private practice’. Andy Foley, MD of Bespoke Medical Indemnity, was on the panel of speakers alongside representatives from the MDU, MDDUS and MPS. He commented “Hopefully the audience now have a better understanding of the different models that mutual and insurance companies offer. I am grateful to the BMA for the invite.”
About Bespoke Medical Indemnity
We work hard to provide surgeons, consultants, groups and medical professionals with robust medical indemnity, malpractice insurance and medico-legal solutions. Bespoke Medical Indemnity was founded by Andy Foley, who has 30 years of experience in the healthcare and insurance sectors.
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