Government runs GP indemnity poll as state-backed scheme detail to be revealed in May

The government plans to survey GPs shortly to build 'an informed and up-to-date view of the GP indemnity market' as it prepares to unveil more detail in May on a proposed state-backed indemnity scheme.

DH headquarters at Richmond House, Whitehall (Photo: Emma Platt)
DH headquarters at Richmond House, Whitehall (Photo: Emma Platt)

A statement released by the DHSC to the BMA says that the government plans to reveal 'further details of the scheme in May 2018, with the scheme going live from April 2019'.

This is in line with the schedule set out by health secretary Jeremy Hunt when he unveiled plans for a state-backed indemnity deal at the RCGP conference last year.

The deal aims to tackle a surge in indemnity costs for general practice that saw fees for GPs rise 50% between 2010 and 2016, with further increases since.

GP indemnity

The DHSC statement confirmed that work was underway to develop a 'more stable and more affordable indemnity scheme for general practice'.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline that regular talks were taking place between the BMA and the government on how the state-backed deal could work.

Dr Vautrey said talks on the indemnity deal are being kept separate from GP contract negotiations - although health secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote on this website last year that he wanted to make changes in the 2018/19 contract that would enable the indemnity scheme to go ahead the following year.

The DHSC statement says: 'Following the secretary of state’s announcement on 12 October 2017 of a state-backed indemnity scheme for general practice in England, the government has started work with GPs and their representatives to develop a more stable and more affordable indemnity scheme for general practice.

Negotiations

'This will require significant complex work before it can be implemented, including further work with GP representatives and other parties to develop our plans.

'We expect to announce further details of the scheme in May 2018, with the scheme going live from April 2019.'

The DHSC warns GPs that they should 'continue to ensure they have appropriate indemnity cover in line with GMC requirements to enable them to practice' until the deal goes live.

It adds that a survey will commence 'shortly', adding: 'We want to encourage GPs who are contacted to take part, as well as other health professionals working in general practice, to respond.'

The DH agreed a £30m-a-year indemnity support scheme for 2016/17 and 2017/18. Funding for 2016/17 was distributed to practices in March 2017, and 2017/18 funding is likely to be paid out between March and April this year.

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