The Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice operated by NHS Resolution will provide indemnity cover to all staff working in NHS general practice (GP) services in England including practice nurses, locums, self-employed workers and trainees.
From 1 April, all nursing staff working in GP practices or providing GP services to NHS patients in England will automatically be included in the scheme. Nursing staff don’t need to make payments towards the scheme or register.
Those working in out-of-hours services, walk-in centres and prison primary care services will be included too.
Clinical negligence liabilities covered from April
The new scheme will cover clinical negligence liabilities from 1 April 2019 that arise from an act (or omission to act) on the part of someone providing a GP service connected to diagnosis, care or treatment that results in personal injury or loss to the patient.
Roz Hooper, RCN Head of Legal Services (Regulatory), said: “The introduction of the Department of Health’s new indemnity scheme is a very welcome development and something we’ve been calling for, for some time. Crucially, it means that our members providing GP services to NHS patients can now be sure that they have appropriate indemnity cover.
“Over the years, the RCN has had to support members working in GP practices whose employers have made mistakes about their indemnity cover, sometimes unintentionally leaving nursing staff out of indemnity packages altogether.
“This has caused those members great anxiety but now they can be confident that they have the correct cover in place for their NHS GP service work.
“The RCN has heard from members and non-members alike that some GP employers have told them that they will no longer be purchasing indemnity cover from their medical defence organisations (MDOs). As a result, the MDO will no longer provide them with support for their other legal issues like employment advice, NMC referrals, inquests and many other potential legal issues. All members of the RCN are covered for this type of legal help.
“Of course, as the new state-backed cover is only for NHS GP clinical negligence liability, the RCN will continue to provide indemnity cover for members’ other non-NHS self-employed, voluntary and Good Samaritan work, as well as providing other workplace legal support including inquests, regulatory and disciplinary proceedings.”
The RCN has called for this for some time
RCN England Director Patricia Marquis said: “The RCN has been calling for changes to the indemnity system in primary care for some time. It’s one of the most frequent concerns raised by members who are either unclear of what indemnity they’re covered by or are worried that the indemnity their employer does have does not cover them at all. This move will also reassure patients that they can be confident in the quality of care they’ll receive in any eventuality.
“The NHS in England has outlined its ambition to expand the role of clinical staff in primary care to help deal with GP shortages. Advanced nurse practitioners work autonomously in practices, and the expansion of this valuable workforce has also meant that medical professionals can focus on more complex aspects of care. Now that our members know they are protected, they can move into these opportunities with confidence and this scheme could promote a career in primary care to fill nursing vacancies in the sector.”
Find out if you're covered
To find out if you are covered by this scheme, or if you have any other questions, please visit the NHS Resolution website in the first instance.
If you need further support or advice about indemnity cover, members can contact RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100.