National Association for Patient Participation

Indemnity win in Wales

15 May 2018

This week the Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Health, Vaughan Gething AM, announced that the Welsh Government will move to a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs. This follows months of campaigning from RCGP Wales. It could not have been achieved without the help of our members and supporters who helped us bring indemnity to the attention of decision makers and ensure that the Welsh Government took action.

We have campaigned hard on this issue across the UK and called on all governments to find a long-term, sustainable solution to tackle the inflexibility and ever-increasing cost of indemnity, the insurance and legal protection that allows GPs to treat patients.

Unlike hospital doctors, GPs pay for indemnity themselves. Our members have told us that because of costs linked to where they can work and still be insured, it restricts the amount of time they can commit to general practice. The cost has even pushed some GPs to leave the profession.

Last Autumn, the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, announced at our annual conference that a solution would be in place for England by April 2019. The state-backed scheme will be of great benefit to GPs in England, but we warned that indemnity is a four nations issue and that GPs in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland should not be left behind.

An indemnity solution was a key ask in our Transform General Practice document back in 2016. We’ve raised our concerns at the highest level, including with the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Vaughan Gething AM. We told him about the stories our members had shared with us about how the unaffordable indemnity costs had impacted on them. Over the past few weeks, our supporters sent almost 500 letters to Welsh Assembly Members highlighting the need for change.

Our campaigning on indemnity continues across other parts of the UK too. In Northern Ireland, we recently published an open letter to the Secretary of State for NI warning that the consequences of not getting a solution are potentially devastating to the future sustainability of GP services in the region.

Whilst we are delighted that the concerns of GPs in England and Wales have been addressed, we need to ensure that a solution is also found in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Help us campaign for the future of general practice by joining our campaign.

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