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Why is the Bill being introduced?
At present, all regulated healthcare professionals need insurance cover against clinical negligence claims. The cost of indemnity has reportedly increased by 7% between 2013 and 2017, though this isn’t believed to be due to a decrease in the quality of care, more increasingly longevity which has made possible claims for negligence more likely.
Indemnity costs – including changes to the rate used to calculate payouts for medical negligence cases – have been cited as one reason why GPs are reducing their hours.
The English Health Secretary announced a government-backed indemnity scheme to provide clinical negligence indemnity cover for GPs in England. In May 2018, the Welsh Government announced its intention to create a similar scheme in Wales.
The Lowdown: The Key Proposal in the Bill
The Bill itself is relatively short and essentially enshrines in law the regulatory powers needed for the Welsh Government to set up and manage a publicly-backed indemnity scheme for GPs in Wales.
The main benefit of the Bill, if it becomes law, will help in the recruitment and retention of GPs because no GP in Wales would be at a disadvantage compared to GPs in England.
How much will the NHS Indemnities Bill cost?
In terms of the administrative costs, just £30,000 – all borne by the Welsh Government.
It’s unclear yet what liabilities for historical medical negligence cases the Welsh Government and the new indemnity scheme would be taking on, but the only estimate given in the explanatory memorandum is “in the region of £100million”. This would be offset by any asset transfers from current providers (currently under negotiation) – so the £100million figure isn’t a “cost” of the Bill.