State-backed indemnity plans 'must be funded by new money'

GP leaders have welcomed the government's intention to introduce state-backed indemnity for the profession, but have insisted that the plans must be funded by 'new money'.

Dr Preeti Shukla: 'We need solutions now.'

Delegates voted unanimously on three parts of a motion on indemnity at the England LMCs conference in London on Friday.

They called for commitments to ensure that the reimbursements to cover inflation in indemnity costs made by NHS England are recurrent and made directly ‘to the individual GP or practice that is paying the indemnity’ ahead of the government introducing state-backed indemnity in April 2019.

Delegates further demanded that the government introduces a system of indemnity that is comparable with secondary care and covers all GPs on the performers list and all NHS GP practice staff.

They also insisted that the government’s announcement on providing state-backed indemnity ‘must be funded by new money’.

However, LMCs voted against a call for GPs to withdraw from out-of-hours en masse as a means of forcing the government to provide direct reimbursement for out-of-hours indemnity.

GPC executive member Dr Mark Sandford-Wood said inequity between GPs and secondary care doctors was a ‘major block’ to recruitment. ‘There needs to be a level playing field if we’re to recruit junior doctors into our ranks,’ he said.

State-backed indemnity

Dr Preeti Shukla, from Lancashire Pennine LMC, spoke in favour of the motion. She said: ‘Last month, the state indemnity system was announced – with bare minimum details.

‘It felt like being given a lollipop and asked to keep quiet until April 2019 when the adults have stopped talking. We need solutions now.

‘Services are running on sheer good will and perseverance – the government needs to become acutely aware that this cannot carry on.’

Dr Shukla also supported the call for GPs to withdraw from out-of-hours work, which was ultimately rejected by the conference.

She said: ‘We should send a loud and clear message that, if government is serious about the GP crisis, they need to pay out-of-hours indemnity in full.’

Several GPs argued against this call, saying they worked primarily in out-of-hours. Dr Nick Woodall, from East Sussex LMC, said. ‘I work exclusively in out-of-hours at the moment. It suits me domestically and the indemnity costs are so punitive I have to work the premium shifts.’

Full coverage of the LMCs conference

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