State-backed indemnity - what you need to know

The Government has announced plans to introduce a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs practising in England and Wales. Below you can find information and articles about where MDDUS stands in relation to this scheme and the work we are doing to ensure the best deal for both doctors and patients.

The Department of Health in England and the Welsh Government are discussing with medical defence organisations the introduction of a state-backed indemnity scheme for GPs in England and Wales.

The rising cost of indemnity has been a major issue for GPs. MDDUS believes that the reasons for this are down to Government’s failure to take decisive action to reduce the increasing number and value of claims and the addition of significant new cost by the misguided lowering of the discount rate to -0.75%. Read more about the discount rate here

The initial idea of a state-backed scheme may be attractive but we need to ensure any such scheme is future-proofed for inflation and doesn’t just bring members back to the position we are in now but with no MDO backing.

As a not-for-profit-mutual funded by our own members with no shareholders to pay, we have been able to keep our costs as low as we can, ensuring adequate indemnity for all our claims: historical, current and future.

A state-backed scheme will not cover you for non-NHS work, representation at inquests, GMC hearings and disciplinary investigations and will also not include advice and support – something highly prized by MDDUS members.

It will be a voluntary scheme but will have a cost attached to it. It is state backed, not state funded.

What do you need to know?

MDDUS is seeking detailed assurances from the Government over the state-backed scheme. Jeremy Hunt’s announcement raised more questions than it answered. The Government must spell out the details of what is involved and commit to tackling the real issues behind rising indemnity costs before GPs can make a decision on the scheme.


GPs need detailed and specific answers on a wide range of issues including the cost of the scheme, how it will be managed and ensuring GPs have a choice with fair competition. GPs have the right to expect such detailed assurances – and the option of opting out at no financial detriment if answers are inadequate.


The Government’s failure to reform the law of tort and cap costs that lawyers are taking from the NHS and GPs has been the main driver in rising indemnity costs. That’s outside the control of medical defence organisations and a state-backed scheme doesn’t address that. Health expenditure generally and GP remuneration in particular will continue to be squeezed because of this failure.


Click here to read about the assurances we are seeking on your behalf.


Read the small print

Another medical defence organisation has announced plans to introduce a "claims paid" scheme from November 2017. Whilst this may appear an attractive option, there are major pitfalls that GPs must be aware of. Indeed, the Department of Health has sounded a note of caution about this type of product which "only covers claims which are reported and settled during the period of cover", meaning GPs would have to pay for costly run-off cover. Click here to read our latest views on the issue.


What are we doing?

Jeremy Hunt has indicated that the introduction of a state-backed scheme will not take place until April 2019 so there is a lot to plan for and discuss before then.

MDDUS is in consultation with the Department of Health but also with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to discuss the possible way ahead. We are speaking with Government officials and with the politicians and decision makers to ensure any scheme is best for our members and patients: past, present and future. The claims experience of GPs differs very markedly across the different parts of the UK and we do not see anything like the same strength of case for action in Scotland and Northern Ireland as in England and Wales.

We will continue to lobby and engage with key influencers about the scheme and ensure that the views of members and patients are at the forefront of the decision-making process.

Visit our Media Centre or follow us on Twitter on @MDDUS_News to keep up-to-date with the latest news.

Find out more

We have worked hard to answer as many questions as we can about the scheme and what we know about it. You can click here to read our FAQs.

If you have a question that is not answered here then please contact us on where we will give you a personal response. We will update our FAQs with any new and relevant questions posed.

To find out more about membership with MDDUS visit our Join page.

This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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