The UK Government has introduced new legislation which requires regulated healthcare professionals from July 2014 to have relevant insurance or indemnity to cover their practice and confirm this to their professional body. The Health Care and Associated Professions (Indemnity Arrangements) Order 2014 came into force on 16 July 2014.
This requirement has been introduced 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.
Action required by employers
The responsibility to have the appropriate level of indemnity rests with the individual registrant.
It is anticipated that most health professionals will have the appropriate cover either through being indemnified by their employer and/or will hold separate indemnity insurance. Statutory regulated healthcare professionals working in the NHS by nature of their employment will be fully covered for practice that they undertake as part of their employment.
As a result of these changes and the communications being issued by the regulators to their registrants, we anticipate that staff may seek clarity from their employer as to the type and level of cover provided by virtue of their employment.
Employers may wish to prepare this information in advance for their staff, if it is not already available. We have developed a Q&A's page in partnership with unions and professional regulators which you may wish to use in your organisation in partnership with Staff Side.
An independent review reported in June 2010 that there should be a statutory duty upon registrants to have insurance or indemnity in respect of liabilities which may be incurred in carrying out work as a registered health professional.
At the same time, negotiations were ongoing in Europe on a Directive on patients’ rights which raised, amongst other topics, the question of professional indemnity. On 28 February 2011, the European Union Commission, Parliament and European Council formally adopted the Directive which came into force on 9 March 2011. A specific element of the Directive places a requirement on Member States to ensure that, by 25 October 2013, they have incorporated into domestic law:
‘systems of professional liability insurance, or a guarantee or similar arrangement that is equivalent or essentially comparable as regards its purpose and which is appropriate to the nature and the extent of the risk, are in place for treatment provided [in Member States]’
In the UK it has been agreed that this will be achieved via the individual registration process with a professional regulator.
Keeping up to date
To ensure we keep employers up to date over the coming months we will be in discussion with the Department of Health and the professional regulators. Any further updates will be posted through the NHS Employers Workforce Bulletin and on these web pages. Further guidance for employees can be sought from the NMC or the HCPC.