NHS England is today announcing the promised help for GPs struggling to cope with the rising cost of indemnity payments so that they can offer greater access for patients.
The 2016 Winter Indemnity Scheme will be extended by a month to April 17 so that GPs wishing to work additional shifts, particularly over the Easter Bank Holiday, can do so without the burden of further costs. The first payments from the GP Indemnity Support Scheme are also set to be paid to GP practices to further offset average indemnity inflation.
The GP Indemnity Scheme payments are made directly to practices and based on 51.6p per patients on their list as of December 1 2016. The two year scheme is making £30m available in 2016/17 while NHS England works with the Department of Health on long-term plans for indemnity reform.
The funding is a result of the GP Indemnity Review, published last summer, after GPs made clear that the above-inflation rises in the amount they must pay to buy indemnity against clinical negligence is unsustainable. Concerns have also been raised about the potential for rising indemnity in discouraging GPs from taking on certain work, like out-of-hours care.
Dr Arvind Madan, GP and Director of Primary Care for NHS England, said: “The General Practice Forward View committed to help address the indemnity problem and today’s announcement is the latest step in the work NHS England has been doing with the Department of Health and the medical defence organisations. We know the rising costs of indemnity are proving a real obstacle for GPs and this funding is an example of our determination to help tackle the issue.”