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15.03.17

NHS England extends GP winter indemnity scheme

A scheme to protect and help GPs pay for the rising cost of indemnity payments whilst delivering out-of-hours (OHH) care has been extended a month longer than originally anticipated, NHS England has revealed.

The 2016 Winter Indemnity Scheme was brought in by NHS England last year as part of the broader General Practice Forward View and has put £5m worth of funds in 2016-17 towards off-setting indemnity premiums that GPs have to pay whilst providing care outside of a traditional general practice.

Due to the nature of OHH care, such as the higher acuity of cases, reduced access to tests and referral and lack of access to the patient record, clinicians are more likely to have insurance claims against them, leading to additional costs being paid.

The scheme was brought in following the GP Indemnity Review, to help GPs with the problem after GPs warned that having to pay to buy indemnity against clinical negligence was unsustainable.

The scheme allows care providers to not be forced into paying large sums for indemnity and hopes that it will allow them to continuing offering greater access for patients and not discourage GPs from taking on certain work like OHH care.

It was announced yesterday that the scheme would now be extended into April 2017, to allow GPs working additional shifts, especially over the Easter Bank Holiday, to work without fear or burden from additional indemnity costs.

Dr Arvind Madan, GP and director of primary care for NHS England, said: “The General Practice Forward View committed to help address the indemnity problem and today’s announcement is the latest step in the work NHS England has been doing with the Department of Health and the medical defence organisations.

“We know the rising costs of indemnity are proving a real obstacle for GPs and this funding is an example of our determination to help tackle the issue.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP,  added: “The rising cost of indemnity is a huge concern for GPs right across the UK, so we’re pleased that this scheme has been extended to provide extra support for our colleagues who are most affected.

“The College has been working closely with NHS England to help GPs with indemnity costs and we will continue to campaign for long lasting solutions to deal with this ongoing issue.”

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