First GPs discover reduced rates under state-backed indemnity

Medico-legal fees for GPs working eight sessions a week will be as little as £1,400 from 1 April under state-backed indemnity, GPonline can reveal - a drop of more than 80% from previous average costs.

Indemnity letters arriving (Photo: FangXiaNuo/Getty Images)
Indemnity letters arriving (Photo: FangXiaNuo/Getty Images)

The state-backed scheme will cover the cost of clinical negligence for GPs and other practice staff carrying out NHS work from 1 April - but GPs will need to maintain cover for non-NHS work, GMC representation and other matters.

GPonline has learned that one London GP covered by the MDU has been told he will pay £1,360 a year for cover for eight sessions a week.

This is the first confirmation of the extent to which GP rates are likely to fall under the landmark indemnity reform that takes effect from next month.

GPs across England due to renew their indemnity cover in April are receiving letters from medical defence organisations informing them of the rates they will pay from 1 April. GPonline reported last week that rates would drop by substantially more than 50% compared with the average £8,000 annual fees GPs were paying when plans for state-backed indemnity were announced in November 2017.

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What we know so far about plans for state-backed GP indemnity

The rate quoted to the London GP suggests that fees are likely to drop by in excess of 80% - although defence organisations and the BMA have said rates paid by individual GPs will continue to vary to some extent.

BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline that the reduction was in the ballpark expected by the union. 'We have always been suggesting it would be around £1,000 - maybe less, maybe a bit more - but it will vary from individual to individual depending on services they offer.'

He added: 'GPs will see a significant reduction.' Dr Vautrey added that GPs insured with the MDU - who have paid fees reduced by 50% over the past year under a transitional scheme ahead of the move to state-backed indemnity - would need to consider whether they needed to factor in additional run-off costs. The MDU has said these costs could apply to doctors who move to other indemnity providers or retire before their normal pensionable age.

An MDU spokesperson confirmed that letters had gone out to doctors renewing in April - and other providers have also begun contacting members.

MDDUS chief executive Chris Kenny said: 'We have notified our members renewing in April of our new prices and other letters are starting to issue this week. We believe that our new integrated product, priced on an individual basis, will provide the most comprehensive and best value coverage for the many risks not covered by Clinical Negligence Scheme for GPs.'

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