MDDUS support during the Covid-19 immunisation rollout

MDDUS has published general principles for members involved in the Covid-19 vaccination programme, providing reassurance of access to advice, support and indemnity

At MDDUS we recognise the vital importance of the Covid-19 vaccination programme. This is an evolving situation which we continue to review. We know that healthcare professionals will want reassurance that they have access to advice, support and indemnity for this critical activity. We’ve outlined here general principles to help you consider your position. If you are in any doubt about your individual circumstances, please get in touch on 0333 043 4444.

Assistance is categorised into:

  1. Professional advice and support (non-claims) – advice, assistance and, where necessary, legal representation for complaints, inquests, fatal accident inquiries, criminal matters related to the practice of medicine, as well as assistance if referred to the regulator (GMC, GDC, NMC etc.) and clinical disciplinary processes by primary care organisations, health boards and trusts.

  2. Indemnity against medical negligence claims – generally employed doctors and dentists (e.g. those working in hospitals) will be covered through the NHS indemnity arrangements of their employer. For GPs and dentists, there are differences across the UK nations, which are summarised below:


England and Wales
: provided under state-backed indemnity schemes. Further information is available at the following links:

Link 1: https://resolution.nhs.uk/services/claims-management/covid-19-vaccinations/

Link 2: https://nwssp.nhs.wales/ourservices/legal-risk-services/areas-of-practice/general-medical-practice-indemnity-gmpi/


Scotland
:

  • GPs providing Covid-19 vaccinations to their own patient population should be covered by their existing indemnity.*
  • Any GPs providing vaccinations at health board level (e.g. mass vaccination sites) will be provided with indemnity by the health board via CNORIS.
  • Any additional staff provided by health boards to assist in the primary care rollout of Covid-19 vaccination will also have their indemnity provided by CNORIS.

    *MDDUS can confirm that we are prepared to provide claims indemnity to MDDUS GPs serving their own patient population, keeping the below in mind:

  • GPs should ensure that this work is included in sessions declared to MDDUS for subscription purposes. We do not need to be told about this work in advance and we can make retrospective adjustments to subscriptions.
  • We will provide indemnity to staff engaged by MDDUS GP members to undertake vaccination work in respect of their practice patients. For existing staff, this would be automatic. Where a practice engages additional staff they must inform us of these staff and the volume/nature of their work.
  • We do this being mindful that the liability of the GP arises only during the on-site storage and administration of the vaccine, rather than from any flaws in its manufacture or failures in distribution.
  • Whilst generally Covid-19 vaccination will be provided to patients registered with the practice, there will likely be a minority of patients who are not registered with the  practice, where no alternative is available to be vaccinated by their registered GP practice. MDDUS GPs undertaking vaccinations of non-registered patients at the request of the Health Board, including their own staff, (in their own premises or in those arranged by the practice for the purposes of vaccination) under the Directed Enhanced Service, will be covered by their existing indemnity.


Northern Ireland:

  • GPs providing Covid-19 vaccinations to their own patient population should be covered by their existing indemnity*
  • Where staff were provided by the public health agency then the agency will provide the indemnity cover for these bank vaccinators.

 

*MDDUS can confirm that we are prepared to provide claims indemnity to MDDUS GPs serving their own patient population, keeping the below in mind:

  • GPs should ensure that this work is included in sessions declared to MDDUS for subscription purposes. We do not need to be told about this work in advance and we can make retrospective adjustments to subscriptions.
  • We will provide indemnity to staff engaged by MDDUS GP members to undertake vaccination work in respect of their practice patients. For existing staff, this would be automatic. Where a practice engages additional staff they must inform us of these staff and the volume/nature of their work.
  • We do this being mindful that the liability of the GP arises only during the on-site storage and administration of the vaccine, rather than from any flaws in its manufacture or failures in distribution.

Specific member groups (UK-wide)

Indemnity against claims provided by the state; entitlement to other benefits of membership as below:

Doctors with active and correct grade of membership

Doctors: with GMC registration and licence to practise

  • Professional advice and support will be provided by MDDUS, no matter where the member participates in the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme, e.g. at GP practices, vaccination hubs, hospitals. Members must be practising in accordance within regulatory requirements and contractual obligations.

Doctors: with GMC registration, who do not hold a licence to practise

  • Ordinarily, doctors without a licence to practise cannot undertake clinical work. However, MDDUS recognises that many doctors in this position wish to assist with the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the capacity of non-licenced practitioner, under the direction of a licenced doctor. MDDUS is able to offer professional advice and support (non-claims) benefits of membership for this limited role, even without a licence, provided the member is appropriately trained and competent.

Doctors: without GMC registration

  • Registration is required to work as a doctor. Therefore without registration with the GMC, the MDDUS is not able to offer the benefits of membership to individuals, even those who have formerly worked as a doctor, until GMC registration is in place. It is possible that a retired doctor would wish to volunteer to assist with the Covid-19 vaccination programme but could not do so as a doctor without GMC registration. If they work as a non-regulated volunteer (assuming they are trained and competent), they may be able to benefit from MDDUS assistance if their employing organisation has DPS membership in place.

Deferred members (e.g. maternity leave, retired)

  • Doctors who have deferred MDDUS membership and are returning to practise solely to assist with the Covid-19 vaccination campaign will be entitled to the full benefits of MDDUS members, without needing to reinstate their active membership, provided they are practising in accordance with regulatory requirements and contractual obligations.

Dental members – fully registered with the GDC

  • Professional advice and support will be provided by MDDUS, no matter where the member participates in the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme, e.g. at GP practices, vaccination hubs, hospitals. Members must be practising in accordance within regulatory requirements and contractual obligations.

Other members

Physician associates and regulated allied healthcare professionals with PCT-RP membership (i.e. the regulatory support product)

  • Professional advice and support will be provided by MDDUS, no matter where the member participates in the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme, e.g. at GP practices, vaccination hubs, hospitals. Members must be practising in accordance within regulatory requirements and contractual obligations.

Regulated allied healthcare professionals (working in an MDDUS GP Discount Practice Scheme [DPS] but no regulatory product [PCT-RP] is available or added) and non-regulated healthcare staff (e.g. healthcare assistants)

  • These staff members can access advice from MDDUS and assistance with complaints arising out of the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme, whether the location of delivering the vaccination was within the practice or not. However, they do not have access to the wider non-claims benefits set out above.
  • For the Covid-19 vaccination programme, MDDUS will provide the benefits of the Professional Advice Protection (PCT-PAP) product to all DPS members (without the usual need of 50 per cent of partners being MDDUS members to get this for free).

Healthcare students

  • Appropriately trained and competent healthcare students may be asked to assist with the Covid-19 vaccination programme, under the direction of a fully-registered doctor.
  • Where students have individual membership with a defence organisation, they would be expected to seek assistance from that organisation if issues were to arise from this practice.
  • For students who are not members of a defence organisation, then MDDUS may be able to assist them where the organisation they are working with has MDDUS membership. This would only be to the extent that we would consider their role to be akin to a non-regulated healthcare staff member (i.e. limited to advice and assistance with complaints).
Vaccinating GP Practice Staff

In light of recent guidance from UK government and health departments, MDDUS are prepared to provide indemnity for GP practices who are to provide Covid-19 vaccinations to practice staff where that activity may fall out of the scope of other indemnity arrangements.

We will extend our indemnity to those members in the correct grade of membership and operating within the applicable and current guidelines. We are extending these benefits as vaccination indemnity is not being provided through the state-backed indemnity schemes in some UK nations.

We would encourage that all practices consider the up-to-date guidance and whether there are preferable alternatives, for example for staff members to be vaccinated by their own GP practice, but we recognise that this usual position will be impacted by the pandemic.

For registration, or any login issues, please visit our login page.