Professional indemnity insurance to be required by health professionals

The government has recently announced a new development for healthcare professionals.  Soon it will be a legal requirement for all medical professionals to have professional indemnity insurance cover if they wish to be registered.

The government plans to introduce the professional liability insurance legislation soon.  It issued the statement in response to an independent review’s recommendations.  The review was led by Finlay Scott, former General Medical Council chief executive.

The review had been commissioned by the previous government.  It had been tasked with examining the cost effectiveness of business liability insurance for the medical community. Specifically the review explored the issue of patients seeking redress for clinical negligence cases.

The government responded by stating that health regulation provisions needed to be consistent. Furthermore individual practitioners should not be forced to obtain personal cover when their employer already covers them.

Any legislative changes will first be subject to cross border healthcare directives set in place by the EU.  The Coalition government stated that the directives are designed to put redress mechanisms in place that assign responsibility to healthcare providers in regards to possessing adequate cover.  This would include those healthcare professionals that act independently.

The government also stated it will be backing a further recommendation by the review.  The commission made the point of wishing to encourage regulatory bodies to communicate with members of the public on the matter of insurance and indemnity.

The Medical Defence Union expressed some level of satisfaction with the government’s announcement.  However it stated its disappointment that these legislative changes will not provide the guarantees that patients and doctors need.

Many industry experts have been critical of the discretionary nature of indemnity cover in the medical community.  Their main argument has been that consumers find it mandatory to insure their houses and cars and therefore medical professionals should find it mandatory to procure clinical negligence cover.

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