NHS introduces indemnity insurance for nurses working in general practice

Cover brings staff in line with other health service employees

Cover brings staff in line with other health service employees

Picture: Alamy

Nursing staff working in GP practices in England are set to receive automatic indemnity cover against clinical negligence claims. 

From 1 April, an NHS scheme will provide indemnity cover to staff working in NHS GP services, including practice nurses, locums, self-employed workers and trainees.

Individuals working in out-of-hours services, walk-in centres and prison primary care services will also be covered.

Professional requirement

The need to have an indemnity arrangement in place is a requirement of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) code of conduct, and is required for revalidation.

But while nurses working elsewhere in the NHS are covered, those working in general care had to previously rely on their employers including them in private indemnity insurance packages.

Staff will now be automatically included in the scheme, which is operated by NHS Resolution, and nursing staff do not need to register with the scheme or make payments towards it. 

Previous lack of clarity

The RCN said the move would ‘reassure’ staff.

RCN England director Patricia Marquis said: ‘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.’

RCN head of legal services (regulatory) Roz Hooper said: ‘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.’

Ms Hooper added that the new cover was only for NHS GP clinical negligence liability, but the RCN would continue to provide indemnity cover for its members’ self-employed, voluntary and ‘good samaritan’ work.

Vital cover

Nurses working in the NHS must have indemnity cover because the health service insures its employees for work carried out on its behalf. 

For those working in private healthcare, such as a nursing home, it is likely their employer will have an appropriate indemnity arrangement in place.

Self-employed nurses and those working through agencies will need professional indemnity insurance. 

Further information

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