GP trainees - along with other doctors carrying out NHS general practice work - will be protected against clinical negligence claims under the state-backed indemnity scheme that takes effect next month.
But while qualified GPs will need to maintain cover for medico-legal support that falls outside the state scheme, the BMA has confirmed that GP trainees will be offered comprehensive personal indemnity cover funded by Health Education England (HEE) until qualification.
The protection includes - among other things - support with GMC investigations and hearings, assistance with criminal proceedings and free medico-legal advice.
Full details of the state-backed clinical negligence scheme for GPs, including information about what GPs should do if they receive a claim, were published earlier this week.
BMA GP trainee subcommittee chair Dr Zoe Greaves said: ‘We are delighted to announce the new indemnity arrangements for trainees. We have worked with HEE to ensure that trainees are comprehensively covered without the need to take additional cover for personal negligence or medico-legal claims.
‘This means that those beginning their careers in general practice can have confidence in the protection they receive, which adequately takes into account the unique structure of GP training. This is particularly important given the ongoing workforce crisis in general practice.’
Trainees who have purchased their own professional cover for this year should seek full reimbursement. Where a trainee’s personal protection is currently provided by a medical defence organisation (MDO) through a bulk-indemnity agreement, this will continue until a future bulk-indemnity agreement is arranged by HEE.
Dr Greaves added: ‘In the short term it is important for trainees to be aware that if they have already paid indemnity for this year and received a refund from their employer locally that any refund they now receive from their MDO will need to be returned to the employer that reimbursed them.’
NHS Resolution has previously confirmed that the scheme will cover all GPs and other staff working in the delivery of primary medical services, including locum and salaried GPs, nurses and other health professionals, and that there are no formal membership or registration requirements for GPs to be covered.
The documents also reveal that there is no limit of indemnity under the Clinical Negligence Scheme for GPs and no excess. GPs will not be at risk of having to meet part of the claim themselves, 'unless some element of it is not covered under scheme', NHS Resolution said.