General practitioner England

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Indemnity cover confined to OOH centre GPs

GP waiting room 2014 2 16x9

Only GPs who work for OOH (out-of-hours) centres will have their indemnity costs covered this winter, the BMA has learned.

GP leaders have expressed alarm at the development which follows an announcement last week by NHS England that it will make £2m available to cover such expenses until March 2016.

The aim of the deal with medical defence organisations was to encourage GPs to take on extra OOH shifts to help ease winter pressures but now doctors working the same shifts could end up earning different amounts.

However, the BMA GPs committee has learned that only GPs working in OOH centres — not those doing other forms of extended hours — will have their indemnity costs covered.

GPs who have already booked OOH shifts not at such centres can withdraw from their sessions and get a refund on indemnity costs.

GPC negotiator Dean Marshall said: ‘This is a prospective arrangement which will lead to doctors working the same OOH shifts earning different amounts for the same work when their expenses are taken into account.

‘It’s very unsatisfactory that it has taken until now to come up with a scheme when we knew, based on our experience last year, the problems OOH providers were going to experience this winter and over the festive period in particular.’

The GPC gained the information relating to OOH centres after asking for clarity on the arrangements following last week’s announcement.

GPs should contact their medical defence unions should they wish to withdraw from shifts.

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