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Explains indemnity cover for NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

First published:
7 April 2020
Last updated:

Due to the ever-increasing pressure on our NHS in Wales during this time, clarity has been sought regarding the application of the Wales state backed clinical negligence schemes – the scheme for General Medical Practice Indemnity (GMPI) (that deals with primary care claims) and the Clinical Negligence Scheme (CNS) (that deals with secondary care claims) during the deployment of GPs, and clinical staff to other departments, roles and clinical duties as a result of COVID-19.

The Welsh Ministers indemnify both NHS Trusts and Local Health Boards (including those employed and engaged by a Trust or LHB) as members of its scheme for clinical negligence through the NHS (Clinical Negligence Scheme) (Wales) Regulations 2019. GPs holding a GMS contract and those employed or engaged by those GPs are also covered by the GMPI scheme. Any returning GP that wishes to undertake locum work will need to register on the All Wales Locum Register (AWLR) in order to fall within the scope of the GMPI. A GP who does not register on the AWLR but wishes to undertake locum work will need to make their own arrangements for indemnity cover.

The Schemes cover any liability in tort owed by a member to a third party in respect of or consequent upon personal injury or loss arising out of or in connection with any breach of a duty of care owed by the member to any person in connection with the diagnosis of any illness, or the care or treatment of any patient, in consequence of any act or omission to act on the part of a person employed or engaged by a member, or a GMS contractor and those employed or engaged by that contractor, in connection with any relevant function of that member.

Under section 11 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the Welsh Government will provide indemnity for clinical negligence liabilities associated with COVID 19 which are not already covered by alternative indemnity arrangements such as those provided by the GMPI and CNS, insurance companies or medical defence organisations. NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (Legal & Risk Services) have published guidance on Indemnity Arrangements During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

We wish to reassure all NHS employees and GMS contract holders (and honorary contract holders) that the necessary levels of protection and indemnity will continue to be in place through this time. Returning GPs and volunteers who have been sourced by NHS Wales to assist with the delivery of clinical services will also be covered by these schemes.

Indemnity arrangements should not be a barrier to changed working arrangements during the pandemic.

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