Introduction of state indemnity in England and Wales FAQs

31 January 2019

I'm about to renew my membership, do I have to pay for an entire year when I may only need to be indemnified for 2-3 months?

When will the state backed indemnity scheme for GP practice in England and Wales be introduced?

What will the state backed indemnity scheme provide for GP members and their practice staff?

Will the state backed indemnity scheme provide indemnity for practice nurses, nurse practitioners, advanced nurse practitioners and other practice staff?

Will GPs still require MDU membership?

Will other practice staff still require MDU membership?

Will my MDU membership change when state backed indemnity is in place?

Will state backed indemnity meet the requirements of the GMC?

Will the state backed scheme include existing (historic) liabilities to cover incidents that may have occurred during my MDU membership but have not yet been reported?

Will I have to pay for state backed indemnity?

How does the introduction of state backed indemnity impact my MDU subscription?

Can I renew my MDU membership to include indemnity for claims for clinical negligence for my private work?

Will I receive a subscription refund when state indemnity starts in April 2019?

I have been told that if the government scheme does not take on historic liabilities I will need to buy run off cover from you - is this true?

What about indemnity for claims for clinical negligence for GPs in Scotland and Northern Ireland?

GROUPCARE - as a GROUPCARE practice how will the introduction of state-backed indemnity affect our GROUPCARE scheme?

Will MDU membership for GPs and practice staff automatically cease in April 2019?

If I have been dealing with the MDU on a claim which is not yet settled - who should I be liaising with in future?

If I have a new claim after April 2019 arising from NHS contracted work, who should I report this to?

After April 2019 will our GP liaison manager still be able to provide MDU seminars in our practice?


I'm about to renew my membership, do I have to pay for an entire year when I may only need to be indemnified for 2-3 months?

Until the government confirms details and timescales for state indemnity you need to renew your MDU membership. Don't forget MDU membership benefits give you much more than support for claims, such as assistance GMC fitness to practise investigations and non-NHS work. Once we know more detail about state indemnity we will contact you to explain the impact on your MDU membership.

When will the state backed indemnity scheme for GP practice in England and Wales be introduced?

It is anticipated that state indemnity will be introduced in April 2019.

What will the state backed indemnity scheme provide for GP members and their practice staff?

It is anticipated that state indemnity will provide support for clinical negligence claims for GPs and primary care staff arising from contracted NHS duties in England and Wales.

State indemnity is not expected to provide support for complaints made against any practice staff, costs associated with matters brought to the GMC or other registration bodies, or any criminal investigations.

Will the state backed indemnity scheme provide indemnity for practice nurses, nurse practitioners, advanced nurse practitioners and other practice staff?

It is anticipated that state indemnity will provide support for clinical negligence claims for primary care staff arising from contracted NHS duties in England and Wales.

Will GPs still require MDU membership?

In our experience, a GP is likely to receive 2-3 claims for clinical negligence in their professional career, whereas the likelihood of requiring assistance with complaints or other professional matters during the same period is much higher at around 9 requests for assistance.

It is essential that GPs maintain their MDU membership to ensure they continue to have first class support and defence for:

  • GMC fitness to practise investigations
  • indemnity for work not covered by the NHS indemnity scheme (including activities such as writing reports as well as any private work you do)
  • representation at disciplinary investigations
  • preparing responses to patient complaints
  • criminal investigations arising from clinical practice, eg gross negligence manslaughter
  • representation at the coroner's court
  • 24-hour access to award winning medico-legal advice
  • 24-hour access to press and media helpline
  • indemnity for good Samaritan acts.

Mind the gap between state indemnity and MDU membership

Will other practice staff still require MDU membership?

While nurses undertaking NHS contracted duties can benefit from state-backed indemnity for claims arising from clinical practice, they will still need MDU membership to be able to access support in the following circumstances:

  • NMC fitness to practise investigations
  • indemnity for work not covered by the NHS indemnity scheme (including activities such as writing reports as well as any private work you do)
  • representation at disciplinary investigations
  • preparing responses to patient complaints
  • criminal investigations arising from clinical practice, eg gross negligence manslaughter
  • representation at the coroner's court
  • 24-hour access to award winning medico-legal advice
  • 24-hour access to press and media helpline
  • indemnity for good Samaritan acts.

Other health professionals such as paramedics and physician associates can also benefit from personal support with medico-legal matters by remaining in MDU membership.

Will my MDU membership change when state backed indemnity is in place?

GP members on transitional benefits membership will renew onto traditional MDU occurrence membership.

Importantly, MDU membership will include:

  • GMC fitness to practise investigations
  • indemnity for work not covered by the NHS indemnity scheme (including activities such as writing reports as well as any private work you do)
  • representation at disciplinary investigations
  • preparing responses to patient complaints
  • criminal investigations arising from clinical practice, eg gross negligence manslaughter
  • representation at the coroner's court
  • 24-hour access to award winning medico-legal advice
  • 24-hour access to press and media helpline
  • indemnity for good Samaritan acts.

Mind the gap between state indemnity and MDU membership

MDU membership will no longer provide support for clinical negligence claims arising from future work done under an NHS contract in England and Wales. Membership of the MDU will give you access to request support with claims arising from areas of standard activity within a practice (such as signing reports) which are unlikely to be covered by the new state-backed indemnity scheme. However, if you have private work (such as occupational health work for a private company) which require indemnity, please ensure you advise the Membership Department who can ensure you have the appropriate indemnity in place.

Will state backed indemnity meet the requirements of the GMC?

It is understood state backed indemnity will meet GMC requirements.

Will the state backed scheme include existing (historic) liabilities to cover incidents that may have occurred during my MDU membership but have not yet been reported?

The precise arrangement of the state backed indemnity scheme are still not known. Once we know the full details of the scheme we will update members.

Will I have to pay for state backed indemnity?

We await more information from the government regarding the funding of the scheme and will update our website and communication to members when we know more. More information is available on the government's website.

How does the introduction of state backed indemnity impact my MDU subscription?

As the state backed indemnity scheme is expected to cover claims arising from work you do under an NHS contract in England and Wales after 1 April 2019 your MDU subscription will significantly reduce. We will write to each individual member to explain the impact on their membership, including subscription, ahead of their next membership renewal.

Can I renew my MDU membership to include indemnity for claims for clinical negligence for my private work?

Yes you can. You have a continued professional obligation to have indemnity in place for all clinical work you do, including work which is not indemnified under the state scheme. We'd be happy to continue to provide first class support to our members who carry out private work. Simply tell us when you approach renewal and we will adjust your subscription accordingly.

Will I receive a subscription refund when state indemnity starts in April 2019?

MDU members have already benefited from a 50% saving on their subscriptions as a result of transitional benefits membership - a valuable upfront benefit at a time when GPs were leaving the profession or cutting down their hours because the cost of indemnity had soared.

When the state-scheme is introduced, we would look to treat our members fairly which may allow us to provide a partial refund of subscription where a member had a substantial part of their MDU transitional benefits membership year still to run at the point the scheme is introduced and they convert to a new form of membership.

Whether this will prove possible will depend on the precise arrangements for the new government scheme and we will update members when we know more.

I have been told that if the government scheme does not take on historic liabilities I will need to buy run off cover from you - is this true?

As set out in the MDU's member guide run off is payable in the following circumstances:

  1. if you leave the MDU before the state scheme is introduced
  2. if the state scheme is introduced without picking up historic liabilities and you were to leave the MDU before the normal retirement age for your NHS pension scheme.

Otherwise there would be no need for you to purchase run off from us. Once we know the details of the state backed scheme we will contact members who purchased run off about this.

What about indemnity for claims for clinical negligence for GPs in Scotland and Northern Ireland?

There is no change as the devolved governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland have not introduced a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs and as yet have not indicated an intention to do so.

GROUPCARE - as a GROUPCARE practice how will the introduction of state-backed indemnity affect our GROUPCARE scheme?

Many of the benefits and services you can access as a GROUPCARE member will remain unchanged. We are also introducing new benefits to GROUPCARE.

It is anticipated that the state backed scheme will include indemnity for clinical negligence claims for all practice staff working on an NHS contract in England and Wales. This will reduce the need for GROUPCARE practices to have indemnity in place for practice nurses and other practice staff within their scheme. However practices may still wish to retain membership for practice staff so they can benefit from personal support with registration body. We will write to all GROUPCARE practices with more information when we know what the state backed scheme includes.

Will MDU membership for GPs and practice staff automatically cease in April 2019?

No. MDU membership will continue until the end of each individual's membership year. We will contact members in advance of April to advise them of changes which apply at that point and again before their renewal (where this is different) to advise them of the benefits appropriate for their renewal.

If I have been dealing with the MDU on a claim which is not yet settled - who should I be liaising with in future?

You should continue to deal with the MDU as usual.

If I have a new claim after April 2019 arising from NHS contracted work, who should I report this to?

This will depend on the details of the state backed scheme. Once we know we will advise our members.

After April 2019 will our GP liaison manager still be able to provide MDU seminars in our practice?

If you are a GROUPCARE practice you can still benefit from our market-leading in-practice seminars, which we have recently updated and enhanced.

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