GPs warn that higher indemnity costs will put more pressure on the workforce crisis

11th June 2021 by NASGP

GPs warn that higher indemnity costs will put more pressure on the workforce crisis

GPs in Northern Ireland have warned colleagues in England, Scotland and Wales that changes to the rules around indemnity costs could push much-needed doctors out of the door, BMA News reports.

The chair of the BMA Northern Ireland GPs committee, Dr Alan Stout, has warned that raising the cost of medical indemnity will put pressure on the country’s already-stricken GP workforce. 

Northern Irish GPs were left out of state indemnity schemes that saved colleagues in England and Wales from staggering costs through a ‘discount rate’ system. Consequently, they are the only GPs in the UK who provide and pay for their own indemnity in full – estimated to cost up to £12,000 a year for one FTE GP. 

If indemnity goes up then not only may some GPs be forced to cut hours, leave the profession or move across the Irish Sea, but some GPs may even find that the costs of historic liabilities lead to the closure or bankruptcy of practices. 

The threat of loss of state indemnity has recently been used to implement new models of working on GPs. In March for example, we reported that Welsh GPs were told they will lose state indemnity for locum work unless they joined new ‘staffing banks’.

The NASGP supports the BMA’s call for the establishment of a compensation scheme for GP indemnity costs. 

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chair of NASGP, said: “Not only does it make sense for indemnity costs to be provided by the NHS within which GPs work, but also that everyone is treated equally.

“The sense of injustice that this has created is deeply demoralising, and since the legwork of planning the deployment of a state backed indemnity scheme, in some parts of the UK, it should be a simpler process for this to be adopted across the UK.”

Sign up to a free three-month NASGP membership trial to get weekly updates on workload, policy changes, and all the stories that affect sessional GPs’ working lives.


"I am so glad and grateful for being a member of NASGP's BOB Locum Chambers. I started with them in a critical period of my career as I was a newly-qualified GP, looking for work in a new area. NASGP chair Dr Richard Fieldhouse and Membership Support Manager Ali Lewis's help was a godsend. They introduced me to locum work in a friendly and kind manner, provided valuable support and excellent service through the ever-improving LocumDeck and NASGP website. NASGP also helped me funnelling down all the job offers I received through my locum work until I recently agreed for a salaried position in a GP practice that I love working at. "

Dr Nazar Ahmed, GP, Oxford

See the full list of features within our NASGP membership plans