Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services
In May 2018 I announced the Welsh Government will be establishing a state backed scheme from April 2019 to provide clinical negligence indemnity for providers of GP services in Wales.
Since May, officials have engaged with Department of Health and Social Care, NHS bodies in Wales, General Practitioners Committee (Wales), , NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership Wales - Legal and Risk Services, NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership - Welsh Risk Pool Services and Medical Defence Organisations over the way in which the scheme will operate in Wales.
Following this stakeholder engagement, I have decided that NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership -Legal and Risk Services, is the preferred partner to operate the state backed scheme for GPs in Wales in relation to clinical negligence claims arising from April 2019 (known as the Future Liabilities Scheme). Welsh Risk Pool Services will work closely with Legal and Risk Services, ensuring an integrated approach between claims management, reimbursement and the learning of lessons. On-going engagement with Legal and Risk Services and other stakeholders will continue.
The Future Liabilities Scheme will deliver a more stable and more sustainable indemnity system for general practice in Wales, through greater longer-term certainty for the on-going provision of general medical services in Wales by addressing concerns about increasing indemnity costs. I anticipate that as the scheme is taken forward over the coming months, further discussions with stakeholders will be required to ensure the needs of general practice are fully met.
The Future Liability Scheme will be aligned as far as possible to the state backed scheme to be established for GPs in England in April 2019. This will ensure that general medical contractors and their practice teams in Wales are not at a disadvantage relative to GPs in England and will also help to ensure that GP recruitment and cross border activity will not be adversely affected by different schemes operating in England and Wales.
The Future Liabilities Scheme will cover the activity of all contractors who provide primary medical services, plus any other integrated urgent care delivered through Schedule 2 of the NHS standard contract. This will include clinical negligence liabilities arising from the activities of GP practice staff and other medical professionals such as salaried GPs; locum GPs; practice pharmacists; practice nurses; healthcare assistants.
However, the Future Liabilities Scheme will not cover private work, complaints, involvement in coroners’ cases, GMS hearings, private funded primary healthcare and other matters relating to professional regulation. GPs will be expected to ensure that they have indemnity to cover all aspects not covered by the state backed scheme.
Following further engagement with medical defence organisations and our other stakeholders, I will make a final decision on the delivery of the FLS in Wales over the coming weeks.
In addition, I confirm my commitment to the state backed scheme covering clinical negligence claims which have arisen before April 2019, (known as the Existing Liabilities Scheme) subject to the completion of legal and financial due diligence and satisfactory negotiations with Medical Defence Organisations.
I will provide a further Written Statement in due course.