The prospect of a national indemnity scheme for general practice appears to have taken a considerable step closer with the announcement from the Secretary of State that a state indemnity scheme for general practice and out-of-hours services could be introduced in 12-18 months’ time.

If this is achieved, it will remove one of the most debilitating costs borne by existing GP practices and what is a considerable impediment to doctors wishing to become general practitioners. The central scheme, if it is to do this, will have to succeed in controlling the step upward rises in indemnity costs seen over recent years.

The existing medical defence bodies are engaging with the Department of Health in discussing the transitional arrangements to a state funded scheme. Already the MDU is, from November, offering transitional benefits cover in the lead up to the scheme. The policy and benefits statements of the main medical defence bodies can be found, as follows:

MDU statement – transitional benefits

MPS statement

MPS – further statement

The Department of Health has published an indemnity factsheet which sets out the intentions and timescales: