Newer doctors going into practice may be a bit confused over exactly what types of insurance they are required by law to carry. This may especially be the case if they are operating under the older regulations dating back to 1990 and aren’t current on those in effect since 1 August 2015. It may seem like three years has been enough time for the differences to be resolved and understood, but some young doctors still aren’t well enough acquainted with the types of insurance they need to carry.
This is where it pays to have medical indemnity insurance explained. If you are wondering why there is a difference and why you even need to consider medical indemnity cover, here is a little about what you should know.
Medical Indemnity Cover Is the Law
Before even trying to understand what the NHS covers, what the General Medical Council covers under their NHS insurance and what they don’t, the first thing to be aware of is that cover is the law. How much and what types of insurance are always your responsibility to understand. The bottom line is that if you don’t carry proper or adequate insurance, you face the very real possibility of incurring penalties up to and including, the loss of your licence to practice.
One Uninsured Claim Could Be Your Ruin
Not only do you stand legal repercussions from the GMC, but you could also be financially ruined as a result of one uninsured claim. Depending on the outcome, claims can run more than your net worth. If you simply believe that every service you offer is covered under the NHS insurance, you could be open to a rude awakening. Those services and treatments performed within the scope of your authorised NHS duties are most likely going to be covered.
However, some doctors have branched out into other areas, not within the scope of their contractual work with the NHS and those services would not be covered. It is your responsibility to carry the appropriate amount of cover, or more if you want to be adequately protected from claims.
Defence on Your Behalf
Although you don’t like to think of this, there are people who make it a habit of filing false or frivolous claims. Some have even won them more than once. By carrying medical indemnity above and beyond what may be required of you, you have someone working in your corner to add to the assurance that false and frivolous claims won’t be filed against you.
While the NHS insurance and legal teams will also work on your behalf if you are covered under their insurance, they are also just as overwhelmed as the entire system is. By purchasing your own additional cover, that is an extra layer of protection against those kinds of claims which can also lead to financial ruin.
Protecting Your Future as a Physician
What all of the above implies is that you’ve worked long and hard to become a physician. It was by no means an inexpensive endeavour for you or for taxpayers for years five and six if you are within the NHS upon becoming a physician. One claim could be your ruin financially, but it could also ruin your reputation as a doctor. This is especially important in the private sector and as more and more doctors are branching out from the NHS, so this is a very important consideration.
Within the system, you will be assigned patients nonetheless, but when you are in the private sector your reputation precedes you. It is better to carry the best medical indemnity insurance you can than to suffer losses which could have been avoided. This is your future you are insuring, and in the end, that’s what you are protecting.