The Welsh Government will introduce a state backed scheme to provide clinical negligence indemnity for GPs in Wales, Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething, has announced.
The scheme, which is planned to come into force from April 2019, will cover all contracted GPs and other health professionals working in NHS general practice.
The move comes following concerns about increasing indemnity costs, which could potentially drive GPs away from the profession, resulting in an impact on services.
The scheme, which will be aligned as far as possible to the state backed scheme announced in England, will ensure that GPs in Wales are not at a disadvantage relative to GPs in England and that GP recruitment and cross border activity will not be adversely affected by different schemes operating in England and Wales.
Vaughan Gething said:
“We have listened to GPs’ concerns. We understand the impact rising professional indemnity costs is having on the workforce and the potential for future pressure if different indemnity practices were in place in England and Wales.
“We’ve contributed towards the increasing indemnity costs through the annual uplift in GP pay and expenses since 2017, but today we are going further by responding to GP’s concerns with a long-term and sustainable solution.
“This further demonstrates our commitment to invest in primary care in Wales and attract more GPs to work in Wales, helping us to make sure our health service is sustainable in the long-term.
“I hope today’s announcement gives reassurance to our hard working GP workforce.”
Dr Charlotte Jones, Chair of BMA Cymru Wales’ GP Committee (GPC Wales) and Deputy Chair, Dr Peter Horvath-Howard said:
“GPC Wales is very positive that the move towards a state backed indemnity system for all GPs in Wales represents a very important step towards increasing the sustainability of general practice in Wales by addressing this significant cost pressure on GPs.
“It is reassuring to hear that the scheme will cover the wider practice clinical team, and will ensure that any vicarious liabilities GP partners have with the wider multi-disciplinary teams working across clusters is covered.
“We look forward to working through the details with Welsh Government who have clearly recognised the need for action on this complex issue.”