The SW AHSN welcomes the development of a primary care national indemnity solution

The SW AHSN has contributed to the development of a National Indemnity Solution, through its focused work on finding solutions to the rising cost and inflexibility of current indemnity provision to cover new models of care emerging across primary care services.

New ways of working are essential to tackle the workforce crisis facing the South West’s primary care services, with over a third of GPs intending to retire or leave general practice within the next three years. The SW AHSN took up the challenge after hearing indemnity insurance was becoming a significant barrier to GP practices wanting to work in different ways.

The issue was first raised at the South West Regional Primary Care Sustainability Board, which is well attended by representatives from regional bodies such as NHS England, Health Education England, Strategic Clinical Network and Public Health England, and local representatives such as members of the Local Medical Committees, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Exeter and Plymouth Universities, Sustainability and Transformation Groups and representatives from Community Education Provider Networks plus some individual practices.

The SW AHSN carried out a survey in October 2016 shared with all general practice staff, the responses received highlighted the issues and captured the difference in cost for different staff groups across the different Medical Defence Unions. Dr David Geddes, Head of Primary Care at NHS England, and Kiera Liburd, Assistant Head of Primary Care (Quality and Regulation), were invited to participate in a workshop alongside MDUs in November 2016 to hear first-hand from practitioners and seek practical solutions. A short film from the workshop and David’s thoughts on the session can be seen here.

A regional indemnity policy for the South West was one potential solution which was discussed. The participants from the workshop produced a specification for a possible indemnity policy through a virtual working group. The final draft was presented to Dr David Geddes, Head of Primary Care Commissioning, NHS England to help support the national discussions, which have led to this latest announcement from Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt that a state-backed primary care indemnity solution is now being explored.

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