(Title Image: GP Online)
Yesterday, the Senedd passed the NHS Indemnity Bill which will create a mutual public indemnity scheme for GPs in Wales.
Somewhat unusually, there were no amendments at all made to the Bill, which cleared Stages 3 and 4 at the same time.
“The future liabilities scheme has already been established and is operating successfully. It covers claims for clinical negligence arising from 1 April 2019. Both the future liabilities scheme and the existing liabilities scheme are aligned, wherever possible, with the arrangements introduced in England. This will ensure that GPs in Wales are not disadvantaged in comparison to their colleagues in England, that there is no negative impact on GP recruitment and retention and no interruption of the cross-border flow of GPs.”
– Health Minister, Vaughan Gething (Lab, Cardiff S. & Penarth)
The Health Minister confirmed that the Health Committee will be provided with an annual report on the workings of the indemnity scheme from April 2021 – which was welcomed by opposition AMs.
The only note of concern was a possible clash between a future duty of candour and the indemnity scheme, which was suggested could result in GPs being forced to admit to potential liability in negligence claims – though the Minister said a duty of candour didn’t change any fact of liability in the first place.
Although a recorded vote has to be taken at Stage 4 of the legislative process, the Bill was approved unanimously.