CREDIT: This story was first seen in OnMedica
NHS England has promised GPs a boost to their indemnity costs to help strengthen out-of-hours GP services, OnMedica reports.
At its Public Board meeting, NHS England announced it would make £10m available for indemnity costs to boost GP out-of-hours services during the winter period.
The increasing cost of indemnity has been raised as a barrier to delivering care, hence the NHS England cash injection.
The NHS England winter indemnity scheme has been developed with the Medical Defence Organisations (MDOs), to offset the additional indemnity premium for GPs who wish to work additional sessions for their out-of-hours (OOH) providers.
The scheme will run from 1 October 2017 until after the Easter weekend, 2 April 2018, to allow doctors to commit to more OOH sessions without the need for them to negotiate additional changes to their level of indemnity cover.
GPs who wish to commit to working additional sessions will agree a likely number of OOH sessions they will work over the period with their OOH provider. Once confirmed, GPs will be able to approach their MDOs to access a bespoke package, funded by NHS England, which would give the doctor cover for their additional commitment to the service.
Access to this indemnity package will be via the MDO’s websites.
Dr Arvind Madan, GP and NHS England director of primary care, said: “NHS England is taking practical advice to ensure rising indemnity costs don’t stand in the way of GPs being able to support their patients over winter, both during working hours and at evenings and weekends. Further work is underway to produce a long-term answer to the issue of indemnity costs.”
Commenting on the announcement, British Medical Association GP committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, said: “This funding is recognition of the pressures that the services will be under and the need to support GPs who work out of hours.
“It is something that the BMA has been pushing for for some time and we have been concerned about the delay to the announcement. But nevertheless, it will give some short-term confidence for GPs working in out-of-hours urgent care organisations.
“It is clear, however, that GPs need a long-term solution to the indemnity crisis, and this is something which the BMA is continuing to lobby the government on.”