Will all UK nations match England's state-backed GP indemnity offer?

The Welsh and Scottish governments have yet to match plans for state-backed GP indemnity in England, but have given strong hints that they will act to make sure their GPs are not left behind.

UK nations considering indemnity funding plans (Photo: iStock)
UK nations considering indemnity funding plans (Photo: iStock)

The Welsh government has said GPs in Wales should not be 'disadvantaged' compared to GPs in England following implementation of a state-backed indemnity plan announced last week by Jeremy Hunt. Mr Hunt has said that the government will seek to roll out the state-backed deal from 2019.

Meanwhile, the government in Scotland - where indemnity fees already tend to be much lower than elsewhere in the UK - said it was seeking 'the best solution' for GPs in the country.

Writing in a BMA blog, GPC Wales chair Dr Charlotte Jones said the Welsh government had ‘listened and understood’ the problems that rising indemnity was having on GPs in Wales.

GP indemnity

She added that although the provider for indemnity has yet to be confirmed, the solution in Wales 'will have state backing’.

The Welsh government did not go so far as to confirm this, but told GPonline it was working up plans to ensure that GPs in Wales would not be disadvantaged relative to GPs in England following the change.

The Scottish government, meanwhile, said it was watching ‘with interest’ the negotiations with the DH for state-backed indemnity in England.

Both indicated that they are also working alongside GPs and MDOs to seek a solution for GPs in their respective countries.

A Welsh government spokesman said: ‘We want to ensure a smooth transition for GPs and MDOs as new models for professional indemnity are considered and implemented.

GP sustainability

‘We are working closely with DH, devolved administrations, GPs and MDOs to achieve this and will be commissioning consultants to undertake an analysis of the medical defence organisation market in Wales.

‘Welsh government wishes to secure a robust solution to ensure the sustainability of professional indemnity arrangements in Wales, mindful that Welsh GP’s should not be disadvantaged relative to colleagues across the UK.’

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: ‘We will watch how these negotiations with the DH progress with interest.

‘In the meantime, we are working closely with medical defence unions in Scotland and the BMA to seek the best solution for all GPs working in Scotland.’

In Northern Ireland, there appears little prospect of an announcement on indemnity arrangements on the part of the government anytime soon, given that talks over a deal to restore a power-sharing government between the DUP and Sinn Fein are reported to have stalled. The UK government has set a 6 November deadline for the formation of an executive in Northern Ireland to pass a budget.

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