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10.10.17

Government must support GPs with indemnity costs, says MDU

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) is asking GPs to get behind its Save General Practice campaign by writing to their MP about the impact the indemnity crisis is having on the profession and patients.

Today, the organisation has written to all of its GP members in England, asking them to contact their MP to demand that the government support them with indemnity costs.

It argues that a change introduced by the lord chancellor has added millions to the cost of clinical negligence claims overnight.

The discount rate, which is the mechanism used by courts to calculate the size of lump sum compensation payable to claimants, was reduced from 2.5% to -0.75% in March 2017, making the already concerning cost of GP indemnity much worse.

It argues that a large increase in the cost of GP indemnity subscriptions is not affordable.

In the letter to MDU’s GP members, Dr. Christine Tomkins, MDU chief executive, said: “The MDU’s Save General Practice campaign highlighted to the government the disastrous effect the reduction in the discount rate would have on GP subscriptions.

“We made it clear that unless the government supported GPs financially with the inevitable cost consequences, many GPs would be driven out of practice and young doctors put off general practice as a career.”

Morale amongst GPs is low, with a recent survey by the union 95% of GPs reported being personally affected by increasing indemnity costs, and 32% considering leaving the profession or retiring because they cannot afford the rising costs.

The call follows NHS England’s announcement that an additional £10m would be made available for indemnity cost during the upcoming winter period.

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