GP indemnity scheme in Wales set for April launch

Author: Adrian O'Dowd

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GPs in Wales will benefit from a new state-backed indemnity scheme due to begin from 1 April, it has been confirmed by the Welsh government.

Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething has confirmed a key step forward in delivering the new scheme to provide clinical negligence indemnity for GPs in Wales although full details have not yet been agreed.

Speaking at the Welsh NHS Confederation annual conference yesterday in Cardiff, Mr Gething confirmed that NHS Shared Services Partnership – Legal and Risk Services will be the partner to operate the Future Liability Scheme from 1 April.

They currently manage the indemnity arrangements for GPs working out-of-hours and secondary care indemnity.

The Future Liability Scheme (FLS) will be aligned as far as possible to the scheme announced in England, said Mr Gething, to ensure GPs in Wales were not at a disadvantage relative to those in England. It would also ensure GP recruitment and cross border activity would not be adversely affected by different schemes operating in the two countries.

The new scheme will cover clinical negligence liabilities arising from the activities of all contractors who provide primary medical services. This includes GP practice staff and other medical professionals such as salaried GPs, locum GPs, practice pharmacists, practice nurses, and healthcare assistants.

Mr Gething said: “This new scheme will provide greater stability and certainty for GPs in Wales. It will support GP practices and primary care clusters in their delivery of sustainable and accessible health care.”

For England’s state-backed scheme, the cost of indemnity will be paid for by a “one-off permanent adjustment” to the global sum, but agreement has not yet been reached in Wales over how the scheme will be funded there.

The confirmation of NHS Shared Services Partnership – Legal and Risk Services to operate the FLS scheme was welcomed by the British Medical Association's GPC Wales and NHS Wales, who have worked with Welsh government in developing the scheme.

Dr Charlotte Jones, chair of GPC Wales, said: “GPC Wales supports the Welsh government’s decision for Legal and Risk Services to operate the Future Liability Scheme from 1 April. The proposed scheme will address one of the biggest financial pressures on GPs, and will enable all GPs, practice teams and wider cluster healthcare professionals to work more closely together taking forward the transformation of Welsh primary care.”

Anne Louise Ferguson, director of legal services at NHS Shared Services Partnership – Legal and Risk Services, said: “We are looking forward to providing a high quality service for GPs in Wales which will build on our success in the delivery of secondary care indemnity.”
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