Insurance reform ‘will not offer patients better protection’
Medical defence organisations criticise UK Government plans for indemnity cover shake-up
The UK Government plans to reform indemnity cover for healthcare professionals not covered by state-backed schemes have been criticised by medical defence organisations.
The Department of Health and Social care has published a consultation on indemnity cover for healthcare professionals who purchase their own indemnity cover because they are not covered by existing or proposed state-backed schemes.
There are concerns that the current arrangements could prevent patients getting appropriate compensation and put healthcare professionals at risk of being personally liable for the costs of claims.
The Government is seeking the public’s views on how to ensure that:
- patients harmed by the negligence of regulated healthcare professionals can access appropriate compensation;
- regulated healthcare professionals hold stable and sufficiently funded clinical negligence cover, thereby reducing potential risks of prohibitive costs to the healthcare workforce and the patients they treat failing to access appropriate compensation;
- regulated healthcare professionals have greater clarity and confidence about the security and terms of their cover, as well as patient protection in the event of a dispute, and
- patients have greater clarity and confidence of their recourse to any compensation.
However, the mutual defence organisation MDDUS said there was no evidence to suggest healthcare professionals and patients will be better protected through regulation of clinical negligence cover – and that the current indemnity model “remains the gold standard that serves healthcare professionals and protects patients”.
Chris Kenny, MDDUS Chief Executive, said: “We support regulation where there is a need but not regulation for the sake of it. Patients will not be better protected as a result of these proposals. The case for change simply hasn’t been made.”
Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection, added: “We are particularly concerned that these proposals would lead to dentists having to pay additional costs – including the cost of insurance premium tax – at a time when the rising cost of clinical negligence is becoming increasingly unaffordable.”
Read our feature: Indemnity and beyond