The introduction of free liability insurance for general practice staff will empower nurses to expand their roles with greater confidence and could help fill vacancies, a union chief has said.
From April 1, nurses delivering NHS primary care services in England will be automatically included in the new state-backed clinical negligence scheme for general practice (CNSGP) run by NHS Resolution. The CNSP mirrors arrangements in NHS trusts.
“Now that our members know they are protected, they can move into these opportunities with confidence”
Previously, general practice nurses either had to pay their own indemnity or it was covered by their practice.
The Royal College of Nursing was among those that called for change to the insurance offer in primary care.
Patricia Marquis, RCN England director, said ambiguity over the indemnity system was one of the most frequent concerns raised by its members in primary care.
Source: Gareth Harmer
She added that the new state-backed scheme would enable nurses to take more duties out the hands of general practitioners and could help make the sector more attractive to nursing staff.
“The NHS in England has outlined its ambition to expand the role of clinical staff in primary care to help deal with GP shortages,” Ms Marquis said.
“Advanced nurse practitioners work autonomously in practices, and the expansion of this valuable workforce has also meant that medical professionals can focus on more complex aspects of care,” she said.
“Now that our members know they are protected, they can move into these opportunities with confidence and this scheme could promote a career in primary care to fill nursing vacancies in the sector,” said Ms Marquis.
“The RCN has had to support members whose employers have made mistakes about their indemnity cover”
Meanwhile, Roz Hooper, head of legal services at the RCN, highlighted that the college had been required to pick up the pieces from indemnity inadequacies in primary care in the past.
“Over the years, the RCN has had to support members working in GP practices whose employers have made mistakes about their indemnity cover, sometimes unintentionally leaving nursing staff out of indemnity packages altogether,” she said.
“This has caused those members great anxiety but now they can be confident that they have the correct cover in place for their NHS GP service work,” Ms Hooper added.
The CNSGP was first revealed in the new five-year GP contract, agreed by NHS England and the British Medical Association, and published on 31 January 2019.
It will provide indemnity cover to all staff working in NHS general practice services in England including practice nurses, locums, self-employed workers and students.
Nursing staff do not need to make payments towards the scheme or sign-up.