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Announcement of state backed indemnity scheme in England

During his speech to this year’s RCGP Conference, Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, announced that the Department of Health is planning the development of a state backed indemnity scheme for general practice in England. The announcement was accompanied by a ministerial written statement to the House of Commons.

This announcement comes after sustained lobbying and engagement by GPC over many months following the previous announcement in March this year by the Lord Chancellor to revise the personal injury discount rate from 2.5% to -0.75%. As recently as last week it was made clear in a letter from GPC UK chair Richard Vautrey to Jeremy Hunt (see Urgent challenges facing general practice) that:

After the announcement, and during a live Q&A session, Richard pressed the Secretary of State to confirm that the state backed scheme would include all GPs - partners, salaried and locums and practice staff, and both in and out of hours NHS work. The Department of Health position on this and other aspects of the scheme are set out in an indemnity factsheet (produced in conjunction with GPC) which contains the current assumptions on key areas, including scope and expected timelines.

BMA commentary on the announcement is available on the BMA website - Call for more details on indemnity scheme. A blog by GPC England deputy chair Mark Sandford-Wood has also been published in Pulse. A further blog setting out the position in Wales by GPC Wales chair Charlotte Jones has also been published.

Further coverage of BMA commentary is available from GP Online and Pulse. The response to the announcement by the three main Medical Defence Organisations is available below:

Medical Defence Union
Medical Protection Society
Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland

Next steps

The Department of Health is to set up a stakeholder group, and arrange a first roundtable next month with GPC the RCGP representatives. Although many tough discussions and negotiations will lie ahead, the announcement of a state-backed scheme is an important step towards the help that LMCs and GPC has been demanding. LMCs will be kept informed of any developments.


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