MDU welcomes indemnity relief for GPs

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28 July 2016

Today's review of GP indemnity by the Department of Health and NHS England should provide GPs with relief from the unsustainable increases in the cost of indemnity driven by spiralling litigation, says the Medical Defence Union (MDU).

The MDU welcomed the review's acknowledgement that increasing compensation awards are the main driver behind the rise in GPs' indemnity costs. While today's solution is intended to relieve the cost pressures on GPs in the short term, the MDU explained that in the longer term, legal reform is needed.

Dr Matthew Lee, MDU Director of Professional Services, said:

'Today's report acknowledges the concerns we have been raising for some time. The spiralling cost of litigation against NHS GPs is placing an unsustainable burden on them because they are responsible for their own indemnity costs. We are not surprised that the review found no evidence of a deterioration in the standards of patient care. The drivers of claims inflation are principally legal and economic and out of GPs' control.

'We welcome the arrangements being put in place to support GPs, but the fact that the Department of Health has needed to step in to protect them from rises in indemnity costs shows the need for reform of personal injury law. The only realistic solution is to stem the frequency and cost of negligence claims to ensure NHS money is spent on front-line services instead of litigation.

'We are pleased this has been acknowledged and would encourage the government to take urgent action to address this problem through legal reform.'

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