State-funded scheme to shield GPs from legal costs
A state-backed indemnity scheme that would protect GPs from the costs of defending clinical negligence claims is to get the blessing of ministers.
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said yesterday that the government wanted “to provide a more stable and affordable system for GPs”. In a written statement to parliament, Hunt said the “rising cost of indemnity is a great source of concern for general practitioners”. He predicted that a state-backed scheme would provide cover for future claims.
Hunt said that the scheme would be designed to provide “financially sustainable cover” for claims arising from the delivery of NHS services.
He revealed that his department had been working with the four medical defence organisations that currently provide indemnity cover to family doctors. Officials have also consulted with GPs on the practicalities of a state-backed scheme.
According to the department, the scheme will take at least 12 to 18 months to establish. Hunt emphasised that in the meantime GPs “should continue to ensure they have appropriate indemnity cover in line with General Medical Council requirements to enable them to practise”.