GPs get free indemnity cover for working out of hours this winter

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 09 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6716
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1The BMJ

General practitioners who sign up for out-of-hours sessions from December 2015 to March 2016 will get free indemnity cover under plans announced by NHS England.

The deal has been brokered with medical defence organisations to ensure that enough GPs are available for out-of-hours sessions to cope with extra demand over the winter months.

In August this year Urgent Health UK, a federation of 26 social enterprises, called for GPs, insurers, NHS England, and other stakeholders to find a solution to spiralling annual indemnity fees that threatened to leave gaps in urgent care rotas and endanger patient care.1

A survey by the agency showed that 79% of 430 GPs said that clinical indemnity fees were limiting the number of out-of-hours shifts they undertook.

NHS England said that it was making £2m available to help with immediate out-of-hours provision while it held discussions with the defence organisations on long term solutions, which are expected to be announced early next year.

To take part in the NHS England winter indemnity scheme GPs need to agree with their out-of-hours provider on the likely number of sessions they will work over the period. Once confirmed, GPs should go to the website of their medical defence organisation to access a bespoke package giving them cover for their additional commitment to the service. Medical defence organisations will invoice NHS England directly on a monthly basis.

Rosamond Roughton, director of commissioning at NHS England, said, “Rising indemnity costs are having a serious impact on GPs as well as stifling innovation in primary care delivery. We are determined to help resolve this issue, and this announcement is just part of the work we are doing with our partners to further support GPs and the wider care primary care workforce.”


Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6716


View Abstract

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription