RCN indemnity scheme
What if the worst happens?
If you are involved in an incident that you think might lead to a patient or colleague making a claim against you, you must report the incident immediately to your RCN office.
To be covered by the scheme, you must then complete an indemnity report form. Your local office or RCN steward can supply this.
You must be a member of the RCN - as a nurse, health practitioner or student member at the time of the incident for this cover to apply (i.e. the RCN scheme provides an occurrence-based, and not a claims-made, indemnity).
Remember that you should never admit liability for an incident (which is not the same as giving a patient an explanation and apology for an unsatisfactory outcome following a health care/nursing intervention) or submit any written statement about it until you have taken advice from the RCN.
Cover under the RCN indemnity scheme is limited to £3 million each and every claim, inclusive of damages and costs. Where more than one member is involved in the same incident of alleged clinical negligence, the RCN's liability will be limited to £3 million in respect of all such claims against those members arising from that incident.
Conditions of cover
- Notify the RCN, as soon as reasonably practicable, of any claim against you for clinical negligence.
- Notify the RCN, as soon as reasonably practicable, of any circumstances known to you that may give rise to a claim.
- Act in good faith in all your dealings with the RCN.
- Co-operate with the RCN in providing information, including documentation, when requested to do so by its lawyers, agents or investigators.
- Not, without the prior written consent of the RCN, admit any legal liability for a claim or settle a claim in respect of which the RCN may be required to indemnify you.
- Have undertaken appropriate training which ensures that you are competent in your practice (i.e. you have the knowledge, skills and experience to perform the task or role to the appropriate standard of care).
- If registered, observe the NMC Code on Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics.
Settling a claim
If you refuse to consent to settling a claim then the RCN liability is limited to the amount we recommend in settlement, in addition to the defence costs to the date we recommend settlement of the claim.
The indemnity provided by the RCN is for the provision of a “health and social care service acceptable to the RCN” where that service is provided in the United Kingdom or world wide, save in respect of services provided in or claims made in the United States of America and Canada, which are excluded.
For the avoidance of doubt, the payment of any compensation and costs under the RCN indemnity scheme is entirely in the discretion of the RCN Council, subject also to you satisfying the conditions set out here. The RCN scheme is not a policy of insurance.
The scheme will not indemnify you:
- to the extent that you are entitled to indemnity under a policy of insurance or contractual indemnity or have the benefit of the NHS indemnity
- in respect of a claim which is made or a circumstance which arises relating to the provision of professional services by another person not in membership of the RCN
- in respect of a claim not arising from the provision of a “health and social care service acceptable to the RCN”
- for any circumstances arising outside of any period of membership with the RCN
- in respect of any trading or personal debt incurred by you; any fine or civil or criminal penalty; or any punitive, aggravated, additional or exemplary damages; any indirect or consequential loss, or loss of profits or of earnings by you
- in respect of a claim or circumstances arising in any way out of the ownership, lease, use or occupation or state of any premises or anything done or omitted to be done in respect of the state of any premises; or out of the manufacture, distribution or sale of any products outside the proper course of the provision of a “health and social care service acceptable to the RCN”
- in respect of any claim or circumstances arising from allegations of defamation
- in respect of any claim or circumstances arising from any material published or broadcast by you or on your behalf to which you have contributed in any way
- in respect of any claim or circumstances arising in any way from your insolvency or bankruptcy
- in respect of any claim or circumstance arising in any way from proven or admitted criminal activity or criminal behaviour, whether or not within the provision of a “health and social care service acceptable to the RCN”.
- In respect of a claim or circumstance arising in any way from proven or admitted sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or unlawful discrimination
- in respect of any claim or circumstance arising in any way out of your deliberate intent to cause harm, or your fraudulent, dishonest, malicious or reckless act or omission or, where you were knowingly a party to any such act or omission, that of a person for whom you are vicariously liable
- where you are employed by a health care provider such as a Social Enterprise and the employer hasn’t also appropriate insurance or indemnity cover for vicarious liability for the actions of its health care employees. This exclusion is limited to your work under a contract of employment with that particular provider.
- If your negligence causes only a financial loss, not associated with any personal injury or damage to property (this exclusion does not apply to nurse expert witnesses or occupational health nurses, where the claim arises in the European Union).
- Self-employed (or 'independent') midwives (not including pre-natal or post-natal care, or parent education).
- Self-employed members (whether you operate as a sole practitioner, partner or through a limited company) who employ or otherwise engage in their business other health care workers who are not RCN members.
- Members working or resident in the USA or Canada or where legal proceedings arise in either country.
- The RCN reserves the right to withhold cover under the indemnity scheme, as a benefit of RCN membership, given the claims history of the member.
- Members employed by a general practitioner, partnership of general practitioners or limited company operated, controlled or owned by general practitioners, are not covered for any work performed under their contract of employment. This exclusion takes effect from 1 January 2012.