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In recent years, a key concern among general practitioners in England has been the rising cost of indemnity against clinical negligence. Many GPs feel that the above-inflation rises in the amount they are required to pay for indemnity are unsustainable.  In particular, concerns have been raised about this discouraging GPs from taking on certain forms of work, such as out of hours care.

In May 2016, NHS England and the Department of Health established a GP Indemnity Review group with the objective of addressing the rising cost of indemnity for GPs. This Review investigated the causes for the rise in indemnity costs and proposed certain long and short term solutions, and a report was published in July 2016.  Two immediate short term solutions of note from the Review are

  1. A new GP Indemnity support scheme established in 2016/17 which will run for two years.
  2. A winter indemnity scheme, first established in December 2015 which reimbursed the indemnity costs of GPs who were willing to work more out of hours sessions to deal with winter pressures.

NHS England and the Department of Health are embarking on further consultations with GPs, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Mutual Defence Organisations (MDOs) to explore long term options, especially with regard to the ability of GPs to deliver out of hours care.

The attached debate pack briefing applies to England only, but some information about arrangements in the rest of the UK can be found in section 1.7.

Update: on 14 March NHS England announced that it would extend by one month the 2016 Winter Indemnity Scheme.  It is now due to end on 17 April 2017: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2017/03/gp-support-ideminity-costs/.


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