28 March 2019 | Firm news | Article by Gareth Beard
The General Medical Council requires all doctors working in England and Wales to have adequate and appropriate indemnity insurance in place to meet any negligence claims brought against them.
However, for many years there has been an anomaly for doctors carrying out NHS work in England and Wales. Whilst doctors working in an NHS hospital setting can rely on their employers (either an NHS Trust or Local Health Board) to handle a claim arising out of any negligent treatment they provide; GPs have had to pay for their own insurance to handle any claim made against them.
In 2016, the Department of Health carried out a review into GP indemnity insurance and this led to a proposal to introduce a new GP state-backed scheme to handle claims brought against GPs and GP surgery staff.
On 1 April 2019, the new Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice comes into force in England – a similar scheme (the Future Liabilities Scheme) in Wales also comes into force on the same day.
The new schemes will mean that any claims against GPs and also other healthcare professionals at GP surgeries (such as practice nurses and other practice staff) arising after 1 April 2019 will now be met by the NHS Resolution in England and the NWSSP Legal and Risk Services in Wales.
It is hoped that the new schemes will ease the burden and pressure placed upon GPs and GP surgeries, and help encourage recruitment of more GPs in the future to deal with increasing patient numbers and increased demands on primary care services.
It is also hoped that the introduction of these schemes will avoid some of the difficulties and delays that have been associated with claims against GPs and GP surgeries, such as problems identifying the correct insurers, or tracing GPs who are retired or no longer practising in the UK, which has caused increased legal costs.
The new schemes will cover negligent acts or omissions by GPs and other practice staff in connection to a diagnosis, care or treatment of a patient. However, GPs will still need to have their own insurance in place to cover non-NHS work, to provide them with representation at inquests, GMC hearings or at any disciplinary investigations.
If you or a family member may have suffered as a result of clinical negligence, we have a dedicated and approachable team who can assist.
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For more information, visit our Medical Negligence page to get in touch and find out if you are eligible to claim.