NHS medical indemnity

Read an overview of NHS medical indemnity systems in the UK.
Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Thursday 5 March 2020
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An overview of NHS medical indemnity

NHS bodies and organisations are financially responsible for the clinical negligence of their employees. All NHS Trusts/ Health Boards in England, Scotland and Wales are members of the state-backed NHS medical schemes.

  • In England, indemnity is provided through the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST), which is administered by the NHS Resolution.
  • In Wales, indemnity is provided through the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts and Health Board by Welsh Risk Pool Services.
  • In Scotland, indemnity is provided by the Clinical Negligence and Other Risks Indemnity Scheme (CNORIS). NHS National Services Scotland is the Scheme Manager, with the Central Legal Office providing legal advice and guidance to Health Boards.
  • In Northern Ireland, each health and social care trust provides its own indemnity, funded by the Department of Health, Social Security and Public Safety.

The legal and professional requirement that all individual doctors hold adequate and appropriate clinical negligence indemnity cover is fulfilled through their Trust/Health Board, either through their membership of an NHS scheme or arranged directly.

The GMC's website gives further details of the legal and professional requirement for indemnity.

It’s important that doctors understand what their NHS duties are. Doctors need to arrange separate clinical negligence indemnity cover for any clinical work outside the scope of NHS indemnity.

 

Advice to all doctors

Understand what your contracted NHS duties are

Make sure you have a clear understand what your contracted NHS duties are and arrange separate clinical negligence indemnity cover for any clinical work you do that is outside the scope of these NHS indemnity schemes or arrangements.

Get clarification from your employer

Seek clarification from your employing organisation, or directly from the NHS indemnity schemes administrators if you are unsure whether you are fully covered by NHS indemnity.

Retain membership of a MDO (medical defence organisation)

Retain membership of a MDO to provide indemnity cover for clinical negligence related to non-NHS work, and non-clinical negligence issues including: ​

  • support in GMC investigations and representation at hearings
  • assistance with criminal investigations arising from your clinical practice
  • representation and assistance in coroner inquests
  • protection for good samaritan acts
  • help responding to patient complaints.