LMCs have voted for the GPC to negotiate crown indemnity cover for 'all GP work' with immediate effect at the special LMCs conference.
The motion, proposed by Dr Mike Ingram, from Hertfordshire LMC, was clearly voted for in favour by the majority of attending GPs, despite the GPC cautioning that it would not fix problems.
GP indemnity costs are ‘rising as fast as a flat in Chelsea’, Dr Ingram warned, proposing the motion. ‘As general practitioners, we are committed to NHS,’ he said. ‘Our careers are spent in service to it – and it is time that it in turn serves us.’
Stockport LMC’s Dr Javaid Ali said his indemnity fees had rocketed from £8,000 two years ago, to £12,000 last year, to over £20,000 this year.
‘I'm a fulltime GP, I only work in the practice and I do extended hours – that’s it. I don’t do minor surgery, I'm very low risk,' he told conference.
‘I can't understand why someone like myself who is low risk should have costs rise so much. The thing that would make me leave general practice is indemnity. And it won't be years down the line, it’ll be next year. This needs to be addressed now.’
But several GPs spoke out against the proposal. Kent LMC’s Dr John Allinha said: ‘Crown indemnmity is a lovely idea – but it’s unrealistic.
‘Crown indemnity is actually a risk sharing arrangement. It covers the duties you're employed to do – but it doesn’t cover anything else. It will give us no help with disciplinary action, and no help for charity work.’
Dr Peter Swinyard, representing Banes/Wiltshire/Swindon LMC, said the current system was a ‘complete mess’ and was pushing GPs out of the career.
But crown indemnity was not the right solution, he warned. ‘I want reimbursement by indemnity costs rather than crown indemnity. If it is paid for by the crown, the crown will wriggle as hard as it can to avoid paying.’
GPC’s Dr Dean Marshall said indemnity was ‘spirally out of control’ – but added that he personally did not believe crown indemnity would solve the problems.
In an earlier motion delegates called for GP expenses – including indemnity – to be properly reimbursed. These must be fully funded to allow practices to function and remain open, GPs said.