The state-funded scheme will bring primary care nurses in line with other NHS employees.
Nursing staff working in GP practices, out-of-hours services, walk-in centres and prison primary care services in England are set to receive automatic state-funded indemnity cover against clinical negligence claims.
From 1 April, all nursing staff working in GP practices or providing GP services to NHS patients in England will automatically be included in the scheme operated by NHS Resolution. Nursing staff will not need to make payments towards the scheme or register with the scheme.
Everyone working in general practice including; pharmacists, physiotherapists, administrative staff, locums, self-employed workers and trainees will also be covered by the scheme.
The Royal College of Nursing has said it supports the move.
‘A frequent concern’.
Patricia Marquis, RCN Director for England, said: “The RCN has been calling for changes to the indemnity system in primary care for some time. It’s one of the most frequent concerns raised by members who are either unclear of what indemnity they’re covered by or are worried that the indemnity their employer does have does not cover them at all. This move will also reassure patients that they can be confident in the quality of care they’ll receive in any eventuality.
“The NHS in England has outlined its ambition to expand the role of clinical staff in primary care to help deal with GP shortages. Advanced nurse practitioners work autonomously in practices, and the expansion of this valuable workforce has also meant that medical professionals can focus on more complex aspects of care. Now that our members know they are protected, they can move into these opportunities with confidence and this scheme could promote a career in primary care to fill nursing vacancies in the sector.”
‘Nursing staff were left out’.
Roz Hooper, the RCN’s Head of Legal Services, said: “Over the years, the RCN has had to support members working in GP practices whose employers have made mistakes about their indemnity cover, sometimes unintentionally leaving nursing staff out of indemnity packages altogether.
“This has caused those members great anxiety but now they can be confident that they have the correct cover in place for their NHS GP service work.
“Of course, as the cover is only for NHS GP clinical negligence liability, the RCN will continue to provide indemnity cover for members’ other non-NHS self-employed, voluntary and Good Samaritan work, as well as providing other workplace legal support including inquests, regulatory and disciplinary proceedings.”