UK nurses face overseas legal threat

UK nurses could be exposed to legal action if they treat US or Canadian citizens, because RCN medical indemnity does not cover them against legal action taken in North American courts.

UK nurses could be exposed to legal action if they treat US or Canadian citizens, because RCN medical indemnity does not cover them against legal action taken in North American courts.

Legal experts say the probability of a patient successfully mounting a legal challenge from across the Atlantic is low, but admit that it is possible.

In addition, practice nurses could be ordered not to treat US or Canadian citizens because medical indemnity for GPs does not cover them in this scenario either.

The NMC refused to clarify whether it would take action against a nurse who refused to treat a patient because they were from the US or Canada. But a spokeswoman said a nurse's primary duty was to ‘protect and support the health of individual clients'.

nick.bostock@haymarket.com

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