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  • New tax year changes to pension costs and lost reliefs will affect employers and locums

    New tax year changes to pension costs and lost reliefs will affect employers and locums

    Friday, 13 April 2018 15:02
  • BMA resource advises on how to chase up 'burdensome' late practice payments from PCSE

    BMA resource advises on how to chase up 'burdensome' late practice payments from PCSE

    Friday, 09 March 2018 16:23
  • Government submits its evidence for doctor remuneration

    Government submits its evidence for doctor remuneration

    Wednesday, 31 January 2018 10:38
  • Winter pressures prompts relaxation of QOF requirements in Wales

    Winter pressures prompts relaxation of QOF requirements in Wales

    Tuesday, 09 January 2018 11:53

a legal imageOctober 20 2017

Medical defence organisation the MDU says it will be reducing indemnity subscriptions for GPs and primary care staff working in England by around 50%. The reduction will be made ahead of anticipated government support with indemnity costs, announced by the Health Secretary last week (see link below).

Jeremy Hunt said the Department of Health will develop a state-backed indemnity scheme, potentially by April 2019. In light of the announcement, the MDU has announced: “From November 1 2017, members renewing their membership and those joining the MDU will see subscription quotes around 50% lower than current levels.”

The reduction “reflects the MDU's expectation that claims arising from NHS primary care provided since the announcement will in due course be picked up by the new NHS scheme.” In this transitional period, members can continue to report claims to the MDU as normal and all other benefits of membership are unaffected, said the MDU. “The discounted subscriptions apply to the whole practice team for work under an NHS England contract.”

Dr Christine Tomkins, MDU chief executive, explained: “To be workable, the scheme will not only need to pick up new GP claims, but also claims costs which have not already been paid for GPs working under an NHS England contract.” As no state-backed indemnity plans have been announced elsewhere in the UK, the MDU fee reduction will only be available to GP members practising in England.

Questioning the approach being taken by the MDU, the MDDUS’s chief executive, Chris Kenny, said: “Before contemplating a claims-made model, MDDUS is seeking firm assurances that our members will not be presented with a large bill for ‘run off’ at the point of transition in to a Government-backed scheme.

“We do not wish to lead our members down a path that they later regret, from the perspective of both affordability and of quality of service. Anybody considering MDU’s offer should take care to understand the implications of transferring only part of their risk in this way and be aware of the potential of thousands of pounds being required to purchase extended benefit rights.”

In a further statement, the MDDUS suggested the MDU’s 50% fee reduction was “too good to be true” and that the new system would fundamentally change GPs’ indemnity cover. “The MDU has unilaterally decided that all of its English NHS GP members will be happy to sign up to the Government scheme when it launches in April 2019. We think that the MDU is premature in its assessment of the scheme, and its decision leaves MDU members exposed to the risk that Government either charges significantly more, or makes some form of contractual change a condition of signing up,” said the MDDUS.

“We realise that GPs face enormous pressures in their day job and that indemnity costs have been an increasing problem. We realise how tempting it must be to jump at an apparent 50% reduction in subscription. We want GPs to have the information that they need to make that choice, once they have considered all the facts. That’s why MDDUS has called for more detail on pricing, management and competitive neutrality of the Government scheme. Without that, GPs can’t give informed consent to this proposal. And you don't need us to tell you how important that is.”

Links:
MDU announcement      
MDDUS initial response                  
MDDUS later comment                
Today’s GP coverage of government announcement of state-backed GP indemnity scheme 

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