In October 2017, my Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced the intention of the Department to develop a state-backed indemnity scheme for general practice in England. This announcement recognised that the rising cost of clinical negligence is a great source of concern for general practitioners (GPs).
Since the announcement, Government has been developing the new scheme, seeking to put in place a more stable and affordable system of indemnity for general practice. The plans announced so far are as follows:
- NHS Resolution will be directed to establish and administer the scheme on behalf of the Secretary of State. This means that NHS Resolution will be given responsibility for the overall administration of the scheme;
- The scheme will include activities delivered under the primary medical care contracts (General Medical Service, Personal Medical Service, Alternative Provider Medical Service). Other professions working under the primary medical care contracts will be included in the scheme. The scheme will also include work delivered under the primary medical care contracts that are delivered in secure environments; and
- The current intention is that the scheme will exclude National Health Service primary care dentistry and private dentistry, private healthcare and community pharmacy and optometry.
We are working closely with the medical defence organisations, NHS England, and representatives of general practice professionals.
In March 2018, the Department commissioned a survey of GPs, nurses and pharmacists in general practice. The survey was designed to help the Department understand current indemnity arrangements within general practice, informing the development of the new state backed scheme.
We are currently analysing the survey results and will provide further details along with the key findings of the GP Indemnity Survey in due course.
We remain fully committed to developing and implementing the scheme from April 2019.