“…reducing the indemnity burden is a cost-effective investment to instantly expand existing GP workforce today, while we await the promise of training more GPs tomorrow.”
– Dr Chaand Nagpaul GPC Chairman 2016.
The need for increased capacity in General Practice has been highlighted for several years, as has the issue surrounding rising indemnity costs. It is clear that such costs are unsustainable for GPs and will prevent them from taking on extra work such as Out of Hours. The knock on effect from this is that a service capable of offering almost 170 hours access a week has rapidly diminished to around 40 hours in some areas.
This creates a bottleneck for General Practice during the day which is creating a dangerously toxic working environment. Many GPs are turning to part time work or even leaving the country. The government’s own figures state that almost 40% of GPs intend to quit in the next 5 years. Combine this with the reduced intake of GPs (down 15% in 2014 and an increase of 6.2% in 2015) and that the vast majority of those qualifying are almost immediately looking to leave the country and it becomes clear that the NHS is not facing a threat but the grim reality of a service in real crisis.
Dr. Maureen Baker (RCGP chair in 2014) stated that General Practice needed to increase capacity and financial incentives were essential in order to achieve this. Dr. Richard Vautry (GPC deputy chair) said in 2015 that indemnity costs were unsustainable and a solution was needed as quickly as possible. In 2016 GPC chair Dr. Chaand Nagpaul said that a move to create a job that people want to do was needed and reducing indemnity was a cost effective way of increasing capacity to help build the foundation to achieve this.
Primary Care Professionals has listened to GPs and we have created a solution to alleviate the burden of indemnity which is preventing the urgently needed increase in capacity from taking place. Our view is that if we can make it more appealing for GPs to work more shifts and to take on out-of-hours roles, then the 40 hours of Primary Care starts to move toward that 170 hour goal and the pressure on GPs to deliver 24 hour care within practice hours eases.
We have thoroughly researched, sourced, and financed our own Indemnity Insurance policy that covers GPs working in OOH at no cost to the GP. This removes the uneconomical charge that is up to 20% of a GP’s income, instantly creating an environment where increasing the capacity of General Practice is a viable option. The knock on effects of increased capacity are a sustainable increase in patient care, reduced stress on GPs and improvement in quality and continuity of care. This has the potential to fulfil Dr. Nagpaul’s challenge of instantly expanding today’s GP workforce and creating a more attractive environment for GPs while NHS England works on a long term solution.
The danger of doing nothing is not that nothing will change, but that the situation will continue to get worse. Primary Care Professionals is dedicated to improving conditions in General Practice and we believe that this is a genuine opportunity to deliver increased capacity.
This is a real opportunity to deliver an incredible step change in General Practice through the removal of the burden of indemnity.