Last reviewed 6 April 2021

The Government has published its information on plans for the development of a state-backed indemnity scheme for general practice in England.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it seeks to put in place a more stable and more affordable system of indemnity for GPs, and others working in general practice.

The policy paper, Indemnity in General Practice: Further Information, sets out progress that has been made in the development on the state-backed indemnity scheme and marks the start of detailed work between the Government, GP representatives and others, outlining current assumptions on key areas.

The Health Secretary announced on 12 October 2017 that the DHSC was planning the development of a state-backed indemnity scheme for general practice, subject to further work on relevant issues, understanding that the rising cost of clinical negligence is a source of concern for GPs and impacts negatively on the GP workforce.

On 1 April 2019, the DHSC established the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice (CNSGP), which covers incidents occurring from 1 April 2019.

From 1 April 2021, existing and former general practice members of the Medical Protection Society (MPS) will be covered by the Existing Liabilities Scheme for General Practice (ELSGP) for certain NHS work carried out before 1 April 2019. It was established to cover the historical liabilities of general practice staff. This new scheme complements the CNSGP.

This is in addition to members of the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS), who have been covered by the scheme since 6 April 2020.

It is envisaged that the scheme would provide clinical negligence cover to providers of GP services, such as GP contractors and out of hours providers of GP services, through which the activities of individual GPs would be covered. It would be available to all contractors who provide primary medical services: GMS, PMS and APMS and any other integrated urgent care delivered through NHS Standard Contracts.

Cover would include the activities of practice staff, including other medical professionals working for the practice in the provision of these contracted services, and students or trainees working in this area.

The DHSC said, as policy thinking develops, these positions may change.

The ELSGP is administered by NHS Resolution on behalf of the Health and Social Care Secretary. More information on the scheme and who is covered is available on the NHS Resolution website, here.

The policy paper is available here.