FAQs

frequently asked questions

The MDU’s Transitional Benefits and their attractive subscription reduction have been widely welcomed by GPs who are finding indemnity costs unaffordable, but there are some areas they would like reassurance about. Here we answer those questions: 

What is the position for GP Specialist Trainees – will they receive Transitional Benefits?

Why does the MDU not offer Transitional Benefits for GPs and locums working for the Ministry of Defence (MoD)?

Will Transitional Benefits apply to GP out-of-hours work where it is carried out under an APMS contract with a CCG or where it is integrated urgent care delivered through an NHS Standard Contract?

What if the Government does not introduce the scheme, or does so but does not take on the historic liabilities?

How can it be unlikely if the Government has stated they are not going to do it?

Even if unlikely, what if after all the Government does not introduce the scheme, or does so but does not take on the historic liabilities – what is the potential cost a member might have to pay?

Can you give me an example?

So it's not true that I may have to pay for Extended Benefits Rights indefinitely?

What implications does a move to Transitional Benefits have on my subscription?

I'm a member of the MDU, what do I need to do?

What about indemnity for claims arising from GP work in Scotland and Northern Ireland and for private work I might do, such as occupational health work for a company or medico-legal work – do these benefits change too?

I'm not a member of the MDU, how can I get these reduced subscriptions? 

What about other non-claims related MDU benefits, such as support with GMC fitness to practise hearings and support with complaints – are these changing?

What happens if I renew onto Transitional Benefits and retire before a state-backed scheme is introduced?

What happens if I renew onto Transitional Benefits and want to leave the MDU before a state-backed scheme is introduced?

What happens if I need to take a break from Transitional Benefits membership, for example for parental leave or career break reasons before a state-backed scheme is introduced?

What is the situation with claims arising from my membership of the MDU before a period of Transitional Benefits?

I have renewed in the past couple of months. Can I have a refund and move onto Transitional Benefits?


What is the position for GP Specialist Trainees – will they receive Transitional Benefits?

No. Whether a GP trainee is an MDU member through a deanery-organised block scheme or a member on an individual basis, there will be no change to their benefits.

Why does the MDU not offer Transitional Benefits for GPs and locums working for the Ministry of Defence (MoD)?

At this point the Government has not indicated it intends to introduce state-backed indemnity for GPs working for the MoD. If the Government expands its scheme to include MoD GPs in future, the MDU would be in a position to offer Transitional Benefits.

Will Transitional Benefits apply to GP out-of-hours work where it is carried out under an APMS contract with a CCG or where it is integrated urgent care delivered through an NHS Standard Contract?

Yes, Transitional Benefits membership includes work carried out under an APMS contract with a CCG or where it is integrated urgent care delivered through an NHS Standard Contract.

What if the Government does not introduce the scheme, or does so but does not take on the historic liabilities?

(Historic liabilities means claims either where the incident giving rise to the claim has already happened but is yet to be notified, or claims already notified but not yet settled.)

We believe this is an unlikely scenario as:

  1. When NHS Indemnity was introduced for hospital doctors in 1990, the Government scheme took on the historic liabilities – why would it be different for GPs?
  2. To be workable, fair and to meet the financial commitments given to all GPs, the Government's scheme will need to pick up future claims costs and existing unpaid (or historic) claims at the date when the scheme is introduced – for all GPs.
  3. The Government has indicated that it is prepared to enter into negotiations with the MDOs concerning a possible transfer of some or all existing liabilities and we intend to work hard to make sure all historic liabilities are taken on.

How can it be unlikely if the Government has stated they are not going to do it?

The Department of Health statement was not that definite. The statement said the Government 'does not currently plan to include this run-off cover in a state-backed scheme'. The Government has also said that the transfer of historic liabilities from MDOs to a new scheme would be dependent on satisfactory negotiations with us which indicates the matter is not closed. The MDU will engage positively with that negotiation and it is our view that it would make no sense to introduce a new scheme without taking these liabilities on.

Even if unlikely, what if after all the Government does not introduce the scheme, or does so but does not take on the historic liabilities – what is the potential cost a member might have to pay?

Our members will not pay more than the equivalent price they would have paid for standard (occurrence-based) membership for the work they do while on transitional benefits. This would include all subscriptions and extended benefit rights payments.

Members who had to pay for extended benefit reporting would not have to make payments for more than 7 years after they left the scheme and it might be for a shorter period.

Can you give me an example?

The subscription for 1 year of membership for Dr A on standard occurrence-based membership (taking into account the impact of the discount rate change) £10,000.

Potential subscription for 1 year of Transitional Benefits for Dr A: £4,000

Scenario 1: State-scheme picks up cost of historic claims:
Dr A does not need Extended Benefits Rights (EBR) (Saving £6,000)

Scenario 2: State-scheme does not pick up cost of historic claims and Dr A stays with the MDU until their retirement date:
Standard subscriptions at the time will apply going forward and there is no charge for EBR

Scenario 3: State-scheme does not pick up cost of historic claims and Dr A subsequently leaves the MDU or retires before NHS Pension scheme normal retirement date:
Dr A needs to purchase EBR
Maximum* cost of EBR for that year of membership: £6,000 (payable over 7 years – e.g. around £850 per year)

Scenario 4: Dr A leaves MDU membership before the state-scheme is introduced:
Dr A needs to purchase EBR
Maximum* cost of EBR for that year of membership: £6,000 (payable over 7 years – e.g. around £850 per year)

*The EBR cost may turn out to be less than this if the discount rate is substantially increased. This is likely but the timescale is not certain.

(Occurrence-based membership means as long as someone is a member at the time an incident happens, they can ask for assistance with a claim arising from that incident at any point in the future, even if they have left the MDU or retired).

So it's not true that I may have to pay for Extended Benefits Rights indefinitely?

That's right. You won't have to pay indefinitely. The maximum length of time you would pay for Extended Benefits would be 7 years after leaving the MDU, and it may prove to be shorter.

Extended Benefits Rights are only required to be paid if you leave the MDU before the state-backed scheme is introduced or if the scheme, when introduced, did not pick up historic claims. Extended benefit rights would only be payable until you reach the normal retirement date for your NHS pension scheme.

What implications does a move to Transitional Benefits have on my subscription?

We can reduce the subscription for the primary care work you do under an NHS primary care contract in England and Wales by around half, as we expect a state-backed scheme, when introduced, will meet much of the cost of claims arising from incidents in your next renewal year.

I'm a member of the MDU, what do I need to do?

You don't need to do anything now. When you receive your next membership renewal, you will be given more information about Transitional Benefits membership as well as your new renewal subscription.

What about indemnity for claims arising from GP work in Scotland and Northern Ireland and for private work I might do, such as occupational health work for a company or medico-legal work – do these benefits change too?

There is no change, as no similar schemes have been indicated as yet from other devolved governments. Therefore your access to benefits for claims arising from work done outside NHS primary care contracts in England or Wales is unchanged. And you can request assistance with clinical negligence claims arising from this work (such as private GP work, GMS/PMS or APMS work in Scotland or Northern Ireland, occupational health or medico-legal work or other private work) on an occurrence basis.

As long as you are (or were) our member at the time the incident happened, and have declared all your work to us, you can ask for assistance at any time in the future. This applies even if you are no longer a member or have retired or stopped practising. As the benefits relating to such work are not changing, transitional subscriptions will not apply to this work at this point.

I'm not a member of the MDU, how can I get these reduced subscriptions? 

If you are a GP working under an NHS primary care contract in England or Wales you can get a quote now to see how much you can save. If your renewal is not due yet, you can register your interest and we will get in touch nearer the time. 

What about other non-claims related MDU benefits, such as support with GMC fitness to practise hearings and support with complaints – are these changing?

These are not changing under Transitional Benefits. That means for any work you are doing you can request assistance with matters such as medico-legal advice, representation at a GMC fitness to practise hearing, a criminal trial, inquest or disciplinary hearing on an occurrence basis. As long as you are (or were) our member at the time the incident happened, and have declared all your work to us, you can ask for assistance at any time in the future. This applies even if you are no longer a member or have retired or stopped practising.

What happens if I renew onto Transitional Benefits and retire before a state-backed scheme is introduced?

If you retire after you move onto Transitional Benefits, you will need to apply for, and be granted, Extended Benefit Rights to continue to have access to assistance with claims arising from incidents that happened after Transitional Benefits started for work you were doing under an NHS primary care contract in England or Wales.

What happens if I renew onto Transitional Benefits and want to leave the MDU before a state-backed scheme is introduced?

If after you move onto Transitional Benefits, you leave the MDU before a government-backed scheme is introduced, you will need to apply for and be granted Extended Benefit Rights to continue to have access to or continuation of assistance with claims arising from incidents occurring after the start of Transitional Benefits, relating to work you were doing under an NHS primary care contract in England or Wales.

What happens if I need to take a break from Transitional Benefits membership, for example for parental leave or career break reasons before a state-backed scheme is introduced?

If after you move onto Transitional Benefits you need to take a break from MDU membership before a government-backed scheme is introduced, you will need to maintain your membership to continue to receive assistance with claims arising from incidents occurring after the start of Transitional Benefits, relating to work you were doing under an NHS primary care contract in England or Wales. It is likely that the subscription will be at a reduced rate as you will not be treating patients.

What is the situation with claims arising from my membership of the MDU before a period of Transitional Benefits?

You can still ask for assistance with an incident which happened during such prior membership in the normal way. This is not affected by the introduction of Transitional Benefits.

I have renewed in the past couple of months. Can I have a refund and move onto Transitional Benefits? 

Unfortunately we will not be able to offer refunds to GP members who recently joined or renewed on the old price. When you next renew your membership you will be able to move onto Transitional Benefits and obtain the reduced subscription, if the Government has at that point not yet introduced the state-backed indemnity scheme.