If engaged by an NHS trust to provide NHS services, individuals will be covered by the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts. If engaged by a GP practice to provide NHS services, individuals will be covered by the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice. It is envisaged that where retired GPs and other clinical staff are brought back to help in delivering NHS services for the purposes of dealing with the coronavirus outbreak that:
- They will be covered under the CNST if they are engaged by an NHS trust to provide the NHS services (irrespective of where the services are provided – in hospital, a clinic or on GP premises), or
- They will be covered by the CNSGP if they are engaged by a GP practice or Part 4 contractor to provide NHS services that are either:
- Primary medical services (provided under a GP contract [Part 4 NHS Services Act 2006] – GMS/PMS/APMS)
- Another type of NHS service provided as part of the activities of the GP practice.
These arrangements should cover existing and returning doctors for the vast majority of NHS services.
We recognise that returning doctors may also want to access medico-legal advice and support, and it is the Government’s intention to ensure this is not a barrier to their return. The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS), the Medical Defence Union (MDU), and the Medical Protection Society (MPS) have confirmed that they will provide medico-legal advice and support at no cost to their retired members who return to work on the COVID-19 response.
For retired MPS and MDDUS members this is automatic. MDU is asking retired members to complete a short form. More information for returning members is available at www.mddus.com/coronavirus; themdu.com/coronavirus; or www.medicalprotection.org/uk/articles/information-for-retired-doctors.
Many doctors might have to consult with patients remotely more frequently than normal. In making the decision to consult and advise patients remotely, doctors must balance the risks and benefits and be satisfied that they can adequately clinically assess the patient remotely. Medical Defence Organisations (MDOs) advise doctors to make a record of the reasoning behind any decisions made and the information they give to patients in case they need to explain the approach they’ve taken later on.