Professional indemnity cover Q&A's

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16 / 8 / 2014 Midnight

Under the Health Care and Associated Professions (Indemnity Arrangements) Order 2014, all healthcare professionals are legally required to declare that they have relevant indemnity insurance to cover the services they provide, in order to maintain their registration with a professional regulatory body.  

This requirement was introduced on 16 July 2014 so that, if a service user is harmed in some way because of the negligence of a registered healthcare professional, the service user will be able to recover any compensation they may be entitled to. 

This requirement has been widely communicated by professional regulatory bodies in the UK to all registrants. It is therefore important that employers make all healthcare professionals who are contracted to work with them (either directly employed, or through an agency or third party provider) aware of what arrangements are in place and the scope of cover provided under the terms of their employment. 

The Q&A section provided below will assist employers in responding to some of the general queries that might be raised by staff.

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) website is a useful source, if any queries are not covered in the section below. See link to NHSLA guidance on the indemnity requirements.

Questions & answers

1. I work in the NHS as a regulated healthcare professional (for example as a doctor, nurse, midwife, physiotherapist etc), what does this mean to me?

2. I am employed by a GP practice

3. I am a student about to register with a professional regulator but don’t have a job yet

4. I’m currently not working/on maternity leave/on a career break will I need insurance?

5. I’m currently practising outside the UK

6. I’m self employed

7. What if I practise outside of my employment?

8. What about Samaritan acts?

9. Will my professional regulator need to know if I change jobs?

10. How do I confirm that I have cover? 

Q1. I work in the NHS as a regulated healthcare professional (for example doctor, nurse, midwife, physiotherapist etc), what does this mean to me?

By the nature of your employment with the NHS you are fully covered for the practice you do as part of your employment. This cover includes agency workers working in the NHS, locums, students and those not working under contract of employment, but contracted to an NHS body to provide services to persons whom that NHS body owe a duty of care. 

Q2. I am employed by a GP practice.

You should be covered by your employer.  System regulators (CQC etc.) expect all employers to acknowledge their vicarious liability for the actions of their employees and make their own appropriate insurance arrangements. If you are uncertain ask your employer about their insurance cover.

Q3. I am a student about to register with a professional regulator but don’t have a job yet.

You will be able to tick the self declaration or complete a self declaration form stating that as and when you are practising you will have insurance by virtue of your employment.

Q4. I’m currently not working/on maternity leave/on a career break will I need insurance?

You will be able to renew your registration but you do not require insurance as you are not practising. You will be able to tick the self declaration box or complete a self declaration form stating that as and when you are practising, you will have insurance by virtue of your employment.

Q5. I’m currently practising outside the UK

You will still need to make a declaration because you will be required to specify that you either have insurance or indemnity in place, or you will do when you begin practising in the UK. However, if you are practising within the EU you will also be required by the Member State to have your own insurance or indemnity arrangement.

Q6. I’m self employed

You will need to find insurance that is appropriate for the type and scope of your practise. Your professional body may be able to provide you with more information.

Q7. What if I practise outside of my employment?

If you practise outside of your NHS employment it is your responsibility to ensure that you have an appropriate indemnity arrangement in place. This may be through your non-NHS employer, your professional body, or by taking out separate private cover. If you are in any doubt, you are recommended to contact your professional regulator for advice.

Q8. What about Samaritan acts?

Good Samaritan acts are not generally regarded as professional practice and therefore indemnity insurance would not be required.

Q9. Will my professional regulator need to know if I change jobs?

It is up to each individual to take responsibility for having an appropriate indemnity arrangement in place.  Individuals should seek advice from their professional regulator on what information you are required to provide.

Q10. How do I confirm that I have cover? 

Regulated health professionals will be asked by their regulator on first registration or re-registration to tick a box confirming that they have indemnity cover.

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