Don't get caught out on indemnity

You wouldn't drive a car or go on an expensive holiday without insurance, so it's vital healthcare professionals don't practise without appropriate indemnity cover in place.

Red umbrella in amongst black umbrellas
  • Date: 20 December 2022
  • |
  • 3 minute read

WOULD you drive a car without car insurance? Or take an expensive holiday without travel insurance? Most doctors would say no to both questions, and yet many find themselves in the unenviable position of realising that they are practising without appropriate indemnity cover in place.

At MDDUS we pride ourselves on providing peace of mind for all our members. But it is vital to remember that for your cover to be effective, it needs to appropriately reflect:

  • your role
  • your location
  • the type of work you undertake (something that can change multiple times during a health professional’s career)
  • the level of your private earnings, if you are indemnified in respect of your private work.

In extreme cases, failing to make appropriate updates to your MDDUS membership opens you to the risk of being held personally liable in the event of a negligence claim, being left without assistance when faced with a disciplinary or regulatory process or facing disciplinary action for having inadequate cover.

Fortunately, you can avoid any potential financial or professional difficulties by ensuring you let MDDUS know about any changes to your membership as quickly as possible.

Regulatory and legal requirements

Under the law, a doctor practising medicine in the UK must have appropriate insurance or indemnity cover against liabilities that may be incurred. The General Medical Council (GMC) has regulatory powers to check a doctor has appropriate cover, and if they learn that they do not, or if a doctor fails to give them the information they ask for, they can remove a doctor’s licence to practise. They can also refuse to grant a licence to practise if the doctor can’t assure the GMC that they’ll have adequate cover in place by the time they start practising in the UK.

The GMC’s Good medical practice guidance reflects the law and tells doctors: “You must make sure you have adequate insurance or indemnity cover so that your patients will not be disadvantaged if they make a claim about the clinical care you have provided in the UK.”

MDDUS membership requirements

Your membership category is determined by your role, location and the type of work you do, so it is vital that you have declared this correctly on joining MDDUS and carefully review your membership certificate at each renewal.

Any changes that are made to any of these areas must be notified to MDDUS immediately, as they may mean that the benefits you are entitled to may change or may not apply. Changes can be made during the year or up to one year after the end of the membership year.

Examples of the sorts of changes that MDDUS would require to be informed of include:

  • any change of personal or professional address or other contact details
  • any change in the nature or extent of work undertaken
  • any change in earnings
  • any parental leave you intend to take, or when you return to work following parental leave
  • any regulatory or disciplinary action that affects your right to practise your profession.

Common issues not notified to MDDUS

  • Starting or resuming private work/other non-NHS work.
  • Increase or decrease in gross private earnings.
  • Changing grade, e.g. progressing up the specialty training grades or to consultant level, changing from trainee grade to non-trainee grade or vice versa, changing seniority in non-training grades (working at SHO/registrar level).
  • Starting or resuming locum work.
  • Undertaking work that requires a supplement, such as medico-legal work or minor cosmetic procedures.
  • Moving from one UK nation to another.

Key points

  • Ensure you declare the full scope of your work.
  • Carefully review renewal documentation for accuracy.
  • Update MDDUS immediately if there are any changes to your role, location, and type of work.

Make changes easily by:

Useful links

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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