GPs and health professionals working in NHS general practices will get clinical negligence indemnity backed by the Welsh Government, it has been announced.
Health secretary Vaughan Gething made the announcement today (14 May) after concerns were raised on increasing indemnity costs that could drive GPs away from general practice.
The scheme will cover clinical negligence liabilities arising from the activities of ‘GP practice staff and other medical professionals such as salaried GPs, locum GPs, practice pharmacists, practice nurses, healthcare assistants’.
Reduce cross-border discrepancy
The state-backed indemnity scheme, which will come into force from April 2019, will be aligned to a similar scheme previously launched in England, which will be rolled out at the same time.
The Welsh Government introduced the scheme to ensure that healthcare professionals in Wales are not at a disadvantage in comparison to their counterparts in England.
A survey recently published by the Welsh Government revealed that the number of full-time GPs (excluding locums, retainers and registrars) in Wales is falling, with the Royal College of General Practitioners in Wales calling on the Government to take ‘urgent action’.
By introducing a state-backed indemnity scheme, the Welsh Government is confident GP recruitment will not be negatively impacted by different schemes operating in England and Wales.
Ms Gething said: ‘Today we are going further by responding to GP’s concerns with a long-term and sustainable solution.
‘This further demonstrates our commitment to invest in primary care in Wales and attract more GPs to work in Wales, helping us to make sure our health service is sustainable in the long-term.’
Rising clinical negligence costs
Last year, the Medical Protection Society (MPS)published a report outlining the rising clinical negligence costs the NHS has to cover.
These costs, the report found, increased by 72% over last 5 years and could reach £2.6bn a year by 2022.
While welcoming the Welsh Government’s announcement, the MPS said more need to be done to produce clarity around this scheme.
MPS CEO Simon Kayll said: ‘The state-backed scheme will not solve the underlying issue of rising clinical negligence costs. The cost of claims will continue to increase unless the root of the issue is tackled through legal reform.
‘It is important that the details around cost, scope, and how it will operate are finalised and communicated swiftly.’