GP indemnity deal funded by 'permanent adjustment to global sum'

A 'one-off permanent adjustment' to practices' global sum payments will pay for the state-backed indemnity package that will cover the cost of clinical negligence claims for all NHS GPs from April.

NHS (Photo: iStock)
NHS (Photo: iStock)

The amount top-sliced from contract funding to pay for the deal - which NHS leaders insisted last year would come from 'existing resources allocated to general practice' - has not been revealed.

But once an overall uplift for 2019/20 is taken into account, the adjustment leaves GP practices with a 1.4% increase in contract funding - with a further 1.6% available from a directed enhanced service to support practices to join primary care networks.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline: 'The indemnity deal will make a significant difference to recruitment and retention as we get rid of a burden on general practice that has been increasing over 20-30 years.'

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He added: 'Even after the adjustment that has been taken out of our contract for indemnity, there is still an increase in global sum.'

A statement published by the BMA says: 'From April 2019, the new state-backed indemnity scheme will cover clinical negligence claims for all GPs, and all other staff working in delivery of primary medical services.

'It will automatically cover GP contractors/principals, salaried GPs, GP locums, nurses, AHPs and all other professional groups delivering those services (including affiliated work for local authorities, Public Health England, out-of-hours etc. It will also include the new network workforce.'

Ongoing cover

All GPs will continue to need cover from a medical defence organisation for non-NHS work, such as GMC or coroner’s court representation or private work.

In the coming financial year, practices will receive funding to cover increases in indemnity costs during 2018/19, as has been the case with indemnity payments through the GP contract for the past two years, but this will be the final year in which indemnity payments are made in this way. The precise amount practices will receive has yet to be agreed.

Salaried GPs will be expected to discuss with their practice how a share of this funding is passed on, and should receive a 2% pay rise from their practice in 2019/20 through the contract agreement.

The BMA has said this 2% uplift should also be passed on to locums through the fees they charge. The doctors' union said that under the state-backed indemnity deal, locums 'will no longer need to pay clinical indemnity costs when working for GP practices, out-of-hours organisations or networks'.

It added: 'We continue to encourage locums to ensure their fees are set responsibly, reflecting their expenses (and changes thereof), experience, local market forces, and local need.'

Click here to read more from GPonline on the five-year GP contract

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