The Medical Defence Union has issued guidance for GPs after NHS England said it will pick up their personal indemnity tab for out of hours work this winter.
GPs should apply directly to the MDU for indemnity under the winter scheme which runs from October 1 until March 31 next year.
It comes after NHS England boss Simon Stevens launched a £5 million scheme to help GPs doing out of hours and unscheduled care services between 6.30pm and 8am, at weekends and bank holidays and NHS 111 work to help with winter pressures.
He told delegates at this week’s National Association of Primary Care’s annual conference he was offering “better support for GPs who look after patients at evening and weekends.”
The MDU’s professional services director Dr Matthew Lee said: “We welcome NHS England’s decision to again support GPs willing to work additional out of hours sessions over the peak winter period with their indemnity costs.”
The NHS England winter indemnity scheme was worth £2.5 million a year in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
NHS England will reimburse the coast of the extra work directly to the MDU.
GPs should agree their sessional hours with their out of hours provider and check that the sessions are covered by the indemnity scheme.
They should not do more than an average of six sessions a week over the winter period.
They can apply online to get confirmed sessions added to their MDU membership.
However, Dr Lee said there needs to be a long-term solution to deal with the rising cost of GP indemnity, caused by spiralling medical claims inflation.
He blamed economic pressure and “an outdated legal system” and said it was not a reflection of medical standards.
NHS England said in April’s General Practice Forward View that GPs felt the soaring indemnity costs “distort” decisions about leaving the profession or doing out of hours work.