Thousands of GPs urged to write to MPs about indemnity

GPs across England have been urged to contact their MP to demand government support to ease the burden of rising indemnity costs.

Medical defence organisation the MDU issued the rallying call for GPs to 'make their voices heard' as part of its Save General Practice campaign.

It has asked every GP it indemnifies - thousands across England - to step up pressure on MPs by writing to them and telling them about the impact the indemnity crisis is having on the profession and patients.

Earlier this year GPonline revealed that indemnity costs strip the equivalent of more than 2,000 GPs from the NHS because doctors are being forced to turn down additional work.

The MDU call for GPs to contact politicians follows comments last week from NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens that the NHS was working alongside GPs and the government towards ‘a very substantial medium-term solution’ to rising indemnity costs.

GP indemnity

The MDU's campaign, launched earlier this year in May, has already highlighted that costs are driving newly-qualified GPs out of the profession.

It has also called for safeguards to be put in place to prevent changes being made to the 'discount rate' - the figure used to adjust personal injury payouts based on their potential investment value over time - without full consideration of the impact on GPs.

Dr Christine Tomkins, MDU chief executive, said: ‘The MDU’s Save General Practice campaign highlighted to government the disastrous effect the reduction in the discount rate would have on GP subscriptions.

‘We made it clear that unless the government supported GPs financially with the inevitable cost consequences, many GPs would be driven out of practice and young doctors put off general practice as a career.

Stress

‘Over 900 GPs responded to our survey, describing the negative impact of higher indemnity prices on their practice and the worry this caused for them professionally and personally.

‘GPs have told us that unaffordable indemnity costs could force them to retire earlier, give up medicine entirely or reduce the amount or type of work they do. The vast majority want NHS indemnity extended to include GPs and their staff.

‘We appreciate the lengthy consideration the DH has given to this crucial issue, but now that parliament has returned, ministers must act decisively to give GPs the support they have long promised but not yet delivered. The crisis in general practice needs solving before it is too late – we are calling on ministers to act now.’

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