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Government publishes FAQs on State Backed Indemnity for General Practice

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The Department of Health and Social Care is working to deliver a state-backed indemnity scheme from April 2019.  We have provided answers to some FAQs below.

The final details of the scheme remain subject to ongoing discussions with partners including GP bodies, MDOs and commercial insurers. We will add to this Q & A on a rolling basis.


When will the new state backed indemnity scheme begin?

We are currently aiming for April 2019 for the introduction of the state backed scheme.

The questions relate primarily to the future liabilities scheme (FLS). This is the part of the scheme that will cover claims (within the scope of the scheme – see below) relating to incidents occurring from April 2019 i.e. claims made in respect of any clinical negligence that occurs after the scheme is launched.

Who will run the new scheme?  

NHS Resolution will administer the scheme on behalf of the Secretary of State. Decisions on how the scheme will operate on a day-to-day basis will be announced in due course. Subsequently, it will be made clear who GPs should contact if they have any queries relating to the new scheme.

What will the new state-backed indemnity scheme cover?

Subject to satisfactory agreement on funding, the scheme will cover clinical negligence liabilities of general practice staff delivering primary medical services commissioned under GMS, PMS and APMS contracts and any integrated urgent care delivered by general practice through schedule 2L of the NHS standard contract. This includes standalone out of hours services commissioned under an APMS contract and services delivered by GP practices under primary medical services contracts in secure environments. Public health services provided by a GMS/PMS/APMS contract holder under arrangements with local authorities (where such services have been commissioned by the Secretary of State, a CCG, NHS England, an NHS trust or an NHS foundation trust and the contract holder’s principal and main activities are the provision of primary medical services) will also be covered under the scheme. This includes:

  • comprehensive sexual health services (including testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, contraception outside of the GP contract and sexual health promotion and disease prevention)
  • health visiting for children 0-5s
  • NHS Health Check assessments
  • dealing with health protection incidents, outbreaks and emergencies

Who will pay for the scheme?

The state-backed scheme is being designed to meet the needs of current and future GPs, offer affordable cover for GPs, and offer value for money for taxpayers.  Our intention is that individuals covered by the scheme will not be required to make any payments into the scheme. We would expect funding for the scheme to come from existing resources allocated for General Practice, and discussions are on-going with the GPC.

Will the scheme cover my practice staff?

Practice staff engaged in the delivery of the services or activities described above will be covered by the scheme.

Will the scheme cover GP trainees?

The scheme will cover GP trainees placed for training purposes in GP settings for clinical negligence liabilities incurred whilst in such a setting. As with all other professionals covered under the scheme, medico-legal cover for GP trainees will need to be provided separately as the scheme will not provide such cover.

Will the scheme cover pharmacists, paramedics and other healthcare professionals employed by primary care networks and/or federations but working in GP practices?

The scheme will cover all general practice employees delivering the services or activities described above. As long as primary care networks and/or federations are commissioned to provide services under GMS, PMS and APMS contracts and integrated urgent care delivered by general practice through schedule 2L of the NHS standard contract, they will be covered by the scheme.

Should I renew my current MDO membership and will I receive a rebate once the new scheme begins? 

You must continue to comply with any professional indemnity cover requirements at all times. On the launch of the scheme, you will be covered for any clinical negligence arising from the NHS activities that are within scope of the scheme. You may need to continue with your current indemnity or other arrangements in respect of activities and services not covered by the scheme.

The precise rebate arrangements (if any) that may be provided by MDOs will depend on the approach taken by the relevant MDO.  Where indemnity is paid for in advance for a whole year, some MDOs have stated publicly that they will reimburse doctors for the portion of cover they will no longer require once the state scheme begins.

You should check the arrangements relating to rebates with your MDO or insurer.

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