GP winter indemnity scheme extended to cover Easter bank holiday

The 2016 winter indemnity scheme has been extended by one month to help GPs work additional shifts over the Easter bank holiday, NHS England has announced.

NHS England said the support would help GPs ‘struggling to cope with the rising cost of indemnity’ to offer additional shifts without having to pay any extra indemnity costs.

The 2016 scheme - originally backed with £5m in DH funding - will now run until 30 April 2017 to ensure it also covers the Easter break, after it was extended from the previous 31 March cut-off point.

The winter indemnity scheme offers indemnity reimbursement for GPs who want to start working out-of-hours shifts, or who are planning to work extra shifts where cover is not provided by the employer.

Meanwhile, the first payments from the £60m GP indemnity support scheme are also due to be paid to practices ‘to further offset average indemnity inflation’.

GP indemnity costs

The two-year scheme offers £30m per year for 2016/17 and 2017/18, with payments for the first year to be made in arrears from April this year. Practices are paid directly based on their practice list size, with locum GPs advised to inflate the fees they charge practices to claim their share of the indemnity funding.

Dr Arvind Madan, GP and director of primary care for NHS England, said: ‘The GP Forward View committed to help address the indemnity problem and today’s announcement is the latest step in the work NHS England has been doing with the DH and the medical defence organisations.

'We know the rising costs of indemnity are proving a real obstacle for GPs and this funding is an example of our determination to help tackle the issue.’

NHS England has said the winter indemnity scheme, which began in 2015, will not run for a third year.

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