12 July

Indemnity Insurance premiums for GPs to cover much needed Out of Hours care can cost an individual as much as £30,000 per year*, making it a prohibitive option for most of them. There are often tragic news stories where available staff do not have the right medical training to diagnose a sick child or when hospital A&E departments are overrun with patients who should only need to see a GP for their ailments. This is not only because of a serious shortage of GPs in the UK but also the fact that fewer are becoming available for Out of Hours care

While the government is attempting to re address this issue with new GP contracts, it has also been reported that many of the UK’s qualified doctors and nurses are looking to work abroad to get what they consider is a much fairer deal and far less stressful working environments.

Tawhid Juneja, MD and founder of Primary Care Professionals, a medical personnel recruitment consultancy based in Hertfordshire says “One of our big concerns about the Out of Hours debate is that many people appear to be blaming doctors, nurses or the NHS in general for a lack of care, impossible waiting times or misdiagnoses from unqualified call centre staff.

“We believe we have one of the best publicly funded healthcare services in the world and it’s something we should never take for granted. We work directly with GPs and Primary Care service practitioners and we were only too aware of a problem that no-one was mentioning – the prohibitive indemnity costs for General Practitioners. We believe that this factor plays a big part in why there are less GP’s available for the Out of Hours services.

“To solve this problem we have spent months resourcing an indemnity insurance policy of our own, via MIAB, a national healthcare broker, so that our GP candidates are covered and don’t have to invest in high insurance premiums themselves. We have sourced a policy which covers our GPs for up to £10million indemnity. In addition, the product has a low excess and includes 24/7 medico-legal and ethical support.

“What’s more, in the event of retirement, death or permanent disability, the policy automatically provides run-off cover for 10 years in respect of the practitioner and their family.

*An article in www.pulsetoday.co.uk on 27th April 2016 entitled GP ‘quoted £30,000’ for annual indemnity insurance.

“A GP has tremendous responsibility for the health of their patients and absolutely has to have indemnity insurance if they undertake Out of Hours care, mainly because they often don’t have the back up of sufficient support staff or medical facilities.

“No other profession has to pay these kinds of insurance premiums in order to practice and no other profession has to make potentially life and death decisions every day of their lives. It is too much to expect from anyone, however well qualified they are. Being a GP or a nurse is stressful enough in itself.

“If we want these exceptional people to help to save lives then I think they need additional support. The figures that get thrown around in relation to a GP’s salary are very misleading and sensationalised. I expect that by comparison to the UK, in other westernised countries GPs and doctors in general are paid considerably more for saving lives Our own GPs shouldn’t be prevented from doing their jobs because they simply can’t afford to.”

Robert Lynch, MD of medical insurance specialists MIAB says “Like Primary Care Professionals we are innovators, and, together, we aim to overcome the problem of prohibitive indemnity insurance premiums so that more GPs can be released to do Out of Hours care for the NHS. Moreover, because the indemnity offered is contract based as opposed to discretionary, any uncertainty as to what may or may not be covered has been removed.

“The unique Primary Care Professionals Indemnity Insurance policy includes 24/7 access to both legal and ethical helplines operated by leading medical specialist law firm DAC Beachcroft, who have been working with the NHS since its inception in 1948. What’s more, helpline usage will not impact future premiums or cover.

“All in all, we firmly believe this initiative can positively impact the provision of Out of Hours provision in the NHS significantly.”

For more information on the Primary Care Professionals Indemnity policy http://primarycarep.wpengine.com/insurance

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