GP OOH Winter Indemnity Scheme Set to Continue
NHS England has announced the continuation of the winter indemnity scheme whereby GPs can be reimbursed for indemnity costs for any additional Out of Hours (OOH) and unscheduled care work.
The scheme runs from 13th October 2016 until 31st of March 2017.
NHSE defines OOH as primary care services from 18.30 – 08.00, plus weekends and bank holidays. It also includes unscheduled care services whereby the patient is not registered with the service and doctors do not have access to the primary care record.
GPs wishing to participate should contact their OOH provider first to confirm any additional shifts. They should then contact their indemnity provider who should increase your protection accordingly. The government will reimburse your indemnifier directly. Further details from NHSE are available here.
You may need to provide proof of the additional sessions worked. NHSE will reimburse the indemnity up to a maximum of 6 additional sessions per week.
But does the scheme go far enough? With indemnity premiums well into five figures for any full time OOH GP, those already giving a year round commitment to OOH are unable to benefit from the scheme.
The best way to take advantage of the initiative is to load the spread of shifts to coincide with the winter period. Somewhat randomly, doctors new to OOH this winter (including VTS graduates) can also benefit.
In previous years, some doctors reported difficulty accessing the reimbursement from their indemnity provider. This year, some providers such as the MDU, MDDUS and MPS have streamlined the process by providing the online forms to apply.
With soaring indemnity costs an increasing barrier to any OOH work, it is time that the reimbursement is extended to all OOHs GPs, recognising the year-round commitment to the risks and unsocial hours of working as an OOH GP.
Claire Davies, GP and editor of the Network Locum (now Lantum) blog