All nursing staff working in GP practices in England will automatically be included in a new state-backed indemnity scheme.
Nursing staff will not need to make payments towards the scheme or register. Those working in out-of-hours services, walk-in centres and prison primary care services will be included too.
‘The introduction of the Department of Health’s new indemnity scheme is a very welcome development and something we’ve been calling for, for some time. Crucially, it means that our members providing GP services to NHS patients can now be sure that they have appropriate indemnity cover,’ said Roz Hooper, RCN Head of Legal Services (Regulatory).
‘Over the years, the RCN has had to support members working in GP practices whose employers have made mistakes about their indemnity cover, sometimes unintentionally leaving nursing staff out of indemnity packages altogether. This has caused those members great anxiety but now they can be confident that they have the correct cover in place for their NHS GP service work.’
The new scheme will cover clinical negligence liabilities from 1 April 2019 that arise from an act (or omission to act) on the part of someone providing a GP service connected to diagnosis, care or treatment that results in personal injury or loss to the patient.
‘The RCN has been calling for changes to the indemnity system in primary care for some time. It’s one of the most frequent concerns raised by members who are either unclear of what indemnity they’re covered by or are worried that the indemnity their employer does have does not cover them at all. This move will also reassure patients that they can be confident in the quality of care they’ll receive in any eventuality,’ said RCN England Director Patricia Marquis.
‘The NHS in England has outlined its ambition to expand the role of clinical staff in primary care to help deal with GP shortages. Advanced nurse practitioners work autonomously in practices, and the expansion of this valuable workforce has also meant that medical professionals can focus on more complex aspects of care. Now that our members know they are protected, they can move into these opportunities with confidence and this scheme could promote a career in primary care to fill nursing vacancies in the sector.’