GP INDEMNITY – Lowest cost on the market
Parliament passed a law in 2006, making it legally binding for all doctors practicing in the UK to have adequate indemnity cover. From the 1st Aug the GMC has had the statutory power to check indemnity and remove a doctor’s license to practice if necessary. The GMC do not put a value on what they deem to be “adequate cover”, however NHS England suggest an amount of £ 10M minimum for GPs.
Hospital doctors enjoy crown or NHS indemnity which covers them against negligence cases and only need to top up for defending against any GMC disciplinary proceedings.
GPs are independent contractors that have to shoulder the full burden of their indemnity. Except for a brief season where the government covered OOH last winter there are only hopeful whispers the government may look to offer GPs crown indemnity – sign government petition.
The medical defence organisations (MDOs: MPS/MDU/MDDUS ) conservatively state that the cost of cover is increasing at 10% year on year, however many GPs have reported much higher hikes. They are mutual not for profit organisations that have to ensure that there is enough collective money in “the pot” to pay out for settlements and increase the subscriptions in order to keep pace with the rapidly rising cost of litigation.
The OOH (usually 2000-0800/weekends) cover is much more expensive which supposedly reflects the increased risk of unplanned care where there is no access to the patient’s usual records, therefore generally daytime walk in centre shifts are considered OOH.
It is useful to note that the MPS do not charge interest on monthly payments and the MDU allow you to freeze membership for 1month if you take time out after the first year.
Unlike insurance companies these MDOs provide discretionary cover which means that there is no absolute requirement for these organisation to help its members and can also increase your personal subscription cost at renewal if you have had past claims. A few GPs have gone to private insurance companies, but this can actually be more costly.If you do entertain this idea, it is crucial to ensure you are looking at getting occurrence vs claims based cover. In occurrence cover, you are always covered in the future even when you are no longer a member, as long as the issue stems from a time when you had membership. In Claims cover schemes all protection ends once your membership ends and should a claim arise down the line, you are on your own.
Some groups of GPs are having some luck in negotiating group rates from private providers such as the example of Vocare getting a group discount for its OOH GPs with Lockton private indemnity.
Remember that you only need to pay for the average clinical sessions you do over the year, so for example if you work 10 sessions per week and only work 6 months a year, this averages out to 5 sessions.
If you think you have overpaid, you can call the membership team who will reimburse you for the overpayment!
You only need to pay for actual patient contact so if you cover mobile OOH services eg 4/week, you might only need to pay for 2 sessions as 50-% of the time you are driving around (this applies for MDU and MPS membership)
We are the smallest of the 3 organisations however we are substantially lower cost than the others and we have as many members in England as Scotland and are inundated with new memberships — MDDUS
Editor Note: The cost of claims are lower in Scotland than England, the subscription tariff is set differently on both sides of the border so that Scottish doctors are not subsidising English doctors.
We have an excellent service and do not charge interest on monthly subscriptions or have hidden costs unlike other organisations, we also offer cover overseas — MPS
We have the best track record and 75% of all of our cases are won without settlement — MDU
Editor Note: It is difficult to compare the success of the organisations in defending cases as they do not all publish like for like data.
We provide insurance not discretionary cover,our advisors are usually lawyers rather than doctors,which we find more effective, doctors usually come to us if the MDOs decline cover — Towergate