NHS England has launched a scheme this year to cover the indemnity costs of GPs working in out-of-hours settings over winter, as they did last year. Here’s how you can take advantage of it.
Am I eligible for the scheme?
The scheme is for GPs working in out-of-hours service, including NHS 111. According to NHS England, it aims to ensure ‘that additional indemnity costs do not become a disincentive to GPs to work in out of hours / unscheduled care services’. Indemnity costs are higher for out-of-hours work because there are more acute cases, no access to patient notes and patients don’t know their GPs (and are more likely to make a claim against a GP they don’t know).
You are eligible if you work in out-of-hours work providing primary care services between 6.30pm and 8am or at weekends and bank holidays, or for an unscheduled care service provider who provides services at any time of the day to patients not registered with the provider and limited access to patient records.
If a Trust runs an NHS 111 or out-of-hours service, the NHS Litigation Authority will cover indemnity costs for GPs. This scheme is available for individual GPs working for a provider who doesn’t cover their indemnity costs.
When does it run until?
The scheme runs from now until 31 March 2017. There is £5m in total available.
How do I apply?
Initially make contact with your local OOH or unscheduled care provider to see what sessions are available and whether they will cover your indemnity. If you need to apply for the scheme, you can apply through your MDO website: MDDUS, Medical Defence Union or Medical Protection.
Is this likely to run every year?
No. Despite this being an expansion of the £2m winter indemnity scheme from last year, NHS England intends this to be the last year of the scheme, as from next year CCGs will have to take account of rising indemnity costs when negotiating with out-of-hours providers so the sessional fees ‘will more reflect the rise in indemnity costs associated with doing this work’.
Is the scheme for nurses and other healthcare professionals too?
No, this is only for GP sessions.