A survey of 430 GPs carried out by Urgent Health UK has revealed the detrimental impact high clinical indemnity costs are having on the out-of-hours sector. An alarming 79% said that clinical indemnity premiums are limiting the number of out-of-hours shifts they undertake.
The federation of social enterprises delivering out-of-hospital urgent care is calling for all key stakeholders to work together to develop a solution as a priority, which will benefit the NHS, and crucially, patient care.
The survey asked three questions which provided some striking findings:
- 79% said that clinical indemnity premiums are limiting the number of out-of-hours shifts they undertake
- 68% said they would consider reducing or stopping out-of-hours shifts should clinical indemnity insurance premiums rise even further
- 55% said that they were concerned that their clinical indemnity insurance might not provide adequate cover for all their shifts
Commenting, Urgent Health UK Chief Executive, Dr John Horrocks, said:
“This survey highlights the very difficult position out-of-hours GPs and our members are in.
“Already across the country, many providers of out-of-hours care are struggling to fill rotas due to a range of workforce issues including the high cost of indemnity; we simply cannot afford for this situation to continue, particularly as we head towards the winter period when pressure on services is even greater.
“I am aware that NHS England is looking closely into this crucial issue and I hope urgent action is taken to resolve it.”
Urgent Health UK Chair, Dr Simon Abrams, added:
“These findings are alarming and reflect the message that we have been hearing from Urgent Health UK members for many months.
“With the right support, out-of-hours services can significantly help to ease the pressure faced by many parts of the NHS.
“There is no doubt that the cost of clinical indemnity is a major barrier to enabling out-of-hours services to fulfil their potential, and this is damaging for the patient experience.
“We are committed to working with GPs, Medical Defence Organisations and the wider insurance industry, and NHS officials to find an effective solution to this issue.”