Exclusive: Nine in 10 GPs call for legal fees to be covered by crown indemnity

Almost all GPs believe their legal insurance costs should be covered by crown indemnity in line with arrangements for hospital colleagues, a GPonline survey shows.

Fees: GPs say indemnity costs should be covered by the state
Fees: GPs say indemnity costs should be covered by the state

A total of 89% of GPs called for crown indemnity to cover the profession in a GPonline poll, while only 3% of the 260 respondents said they were against such a move. The remaining 8% were unsure.

Respondents warned that out-of-hours services are on the verge of collapse because of ‘extortionate fees’ charged to GPs. ‘This is one of the main reasons why doctors don’t work in GP out-of-hours,’ one GP warned.

The GPC has already voiced concerns that the NHS must step up to cover ‘soaring’ fees, either by extending crown indemnity or directly reimbursing GP costs.

GPonline has previously revealed that GP insurance fees are rising at an incredible rate, with a third of GPs having to pay 20% more now to maintain legal cover than they did five years ago.

GP workforce crisis

More than one in 10 GPs are forced to pay out over £10,000 a year for medical indemnity, with one GP calling monthly fees ‘equivalent to a mortgage payment’.

Many members of the profession have warned that the trend for rising fees is forcing doctors out of the profession and dissuading those coming in at the other end, pushing the workforce closer to breaking point.

One respondent to the current poll described their medical insurance as ‘a crippling sum of money’.

Another said: ‘Increasing indemnity is one of the main reasons I'm moving out of NHS general practice.’

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