MDU calls for Health Bill change to ensure CCGs check firms' indemnity

The Health Bill must be amended to force clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to check that providers of care including firms have the proper indemnity arrangements, says the Medical Defence Union (MDU)

MDU chief executive, Dr Christine Tomkins said the Bill in its current form makes no mention of clinical negligence indemnity arrangements for CCGs or providers.

Nor are there any  requirements for guidance which would set out the type of arrangements necessary to ensure that patients receive full and proper compensation if they are negligently harmed.

‘We believe this is a glaring omission and could mean that patients who have been negligently harmed by a provider could end up failing to receive compensation due to them from a negligence claim,’ Dr Tomkins said.

In a briefing to members of the House of Lords, the MDU described a scenario in which a patient is failed by a provider which does not have any arrangements in place for dealing with claims. For example a provider may have been a limited company which has been wound up without any arrangements in place for dealing with claims.

As a result, the patient is unable to obtain compensation so his family would be provided for after his death.

Dr Tomkins said that the government must protect patients to ensure this sort of problem does not happen.

‘Protecting patients should be foremost.  We are calling for the Bill to be amended to specify that adequate and appropriate indemnity arrangements must be in place to protect patients, and to ensure that there are clear criteria for those arrangements.

‘Without this, we believe that any new arrangements for the commissioning and provision of care could be seriously undermined,’ Dr Tomkins said.

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