GPs forming companies should check indemnity

The increasing numbers of GPs who organise themselves into companies to bid for contracts from primary care organisations should ensure their company has adequate indemnity in place, according to the Medical Defence Union (MDU).

GPs' individual indemnity will not cover their company if they are sued because of a failure in company procedure or the actions of a staff member for whom it has vicarious liability.

The MDU has introduced an insurance policy for companies which dovetails with the policy that individual members receive to ensure all their clinical negligence claims are covered.

Dr James Armstrong, MDU medico-legal adviser, said: ‘While an individual doctor may be sued for missing a diagnosis of breast cancer, the company could also be sued if, for example, errors in the system for reporting laboratory results were found to have contributed to a delay in diagnosis.

‘Companies are also vicariously liable for the staff they employ and could, for instance, be sued if a nurse failed to follow correct protocols when immunising a patient, resulting in the administration of a wrong vaccine.'

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