Current cover doesn’t work

What is the future of indemnity cover for doctors? David Hare sets out the healthcare providers’ view on what now should happen.

The IHPN believes that compulsory, affordable and comprehensive insurance is the way forward for giving doctors indemnity cover

Medical indemnity of clinicians has undoubtedly risen up the healthcare agenda over the last few years, with a clear case for reform emerging.  

Most notably, the Paterson case – where breast surgeon Ian Paterson convinced patients to undergo unnecessary surgery – brought to light a number of key issues around indemnity cover for consultants working in the independent sector. 

This includes issues around:

  • Where the liability sits when clinicians operate in both the NHS and independent sector;
  • When there are multiple indemnifiers;
  • The current gaps in protection under the discretionary model of cover. 

With this area ripe for reform, the Government published a consultation late last year on what indemnity cover for healthcare professionals should look like for those who are not covered by any existing or proposed state-backed scheme.

The Government has been committed to launching a state-backed scheme, largely to help stem rising clinical negligence costs. 

As the representative body for independent healthcare providers, the Independent Healthcare Prov­iders Network (IHPN) welcomed the opportunity to contribute to this consultation, which closed at the end of February. 

For us, we are clear that the starting point when looking at reform must be the introduction of fully comprehensive insurance indemnity cover that works for the benefit of patients.