NHS Medical Indemnity for IMGs

8 Minutes

As an IMG moving to the UK and working for the NHS, you’ll need to learn how things work. What are the rules? What are your rights? How do you protect yourself?

One crucial part you need to know about working for the NHS is how to protect yourself and your career in the case of clinical negligence. The good news is that NHS bodies and organisations are financially responsible for these claims.

What is NHS Medical Indemnity?

Medical indemnity is a type of insurance that responds to medical malpractice cases. It will cover the costs and damages due to negligence caused by employers, including any criminal or GMC investigations. NHS medical indemnity is mandatory and covered by the NHS organisation you work for. Here is who provides medical indemnity by UK country:

  • England: Medical indemnity comes from the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts from NHS Resolution.
  • Wales: Medical indemnity comes from the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts and Health Board by the Welsh Risk Pool Services.
  • Scotland: Medical indemnity comes from Clinical Negligence and Other Risks Indemnity Scheme.

You don’t need to worry about joining these services or schemes – as soon as you enter an NHS career, they are already in place for you.

Why is it Important?

While you will, of course, put every effort into patient care during your NHS career, there is always the possibility of a patient filing a claim against you due to professional negligence or breach of duty. In this case, it’s important to compensate the patient; reimburse them for any harm they have suffered due to medical negligence. That’s what medical indemnity ensures. The medical indemnity also means you can access medico-legal support or personal regulatory support for advice and guidance.

What is Not Covered by NHS Professional Indemnity?

While you should feel supported by the NHS’s mandatory medical indemnity that covers you, you should also keep in mind that it doesn’t cover everything, including:

  • Good Samaritan Acts
  • Clinical Trials
  • Work for an Outside Agency
  • Volunteer Work
  • Overseas Work

Take good Samaritan acts as an example. If you were to use your professional medical knowledge in a public space as a good Samaritan act, the NHS medical indemnity would not cover you. In this case, you’ll need to find additional personal cover.

The Different Indemnity Schemes

Due to NHS professional indemnity not covering every situation, it might not be enough for you. Additional indemnity for individual doctors can be a very sensible decision, despite not being a legal or professional requirement. As an IMG, you should definitely consider getting personal coverage, as it adds an extra layer of career protection. Here are some of the most popular indemnity schemes to consider.

MDU (Medical Defence Union)

The Medical Defence Union offers indemnity schemes to a range of healthcare workers. They have a team of medico-legal advisors backing you in situations, such as complaints to the GMC or suing due to clinical negligence. When you choose this scheme, you’ll receive advice and guidance for criminal investigations, GMC referrals, patient complaints, and more. They promise to be there for you, with a real focus on maintaining your professional reputation. They also have a 24-hour helpline. It’s a popular indemnity scheme for a reason!

MPS (Medical Protection Society)

The Medical Protection Society has an extensive worldwide team of medico-legal experts. Their adaptable services are available at all hours, so you can seek advice no matter what time of day it is. With this scheme, you have a right to request indemnity for claims as well as a bunch of other benefits, including risk prevention and a tailored membership. The memberships cover a range of medical professions, including students, consultants, hospital doctors, and more. On top of all that, the Medical Protection Society has 125 years in the business.

MDDUS (Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland)

Being a member of MDDUS means gaining more coverage than you get from the standard NHS indemnity scheme. For example, you get access to confidential support, advice from medico-legal experts, and representation for disciplinaries. It even includes coverage for Good Samaritan Acts. There are many different types of memberships on offer, including the NHS hospital doctor membership, which is open to all NHS hospital doctors.

All of the above indemnity schemes offer free quotes, allowing you to weigh up your options and choose the organisation that works for your career.

How to Apply

To apply for a personal medical indemnity scheme, choose your preferred organisation before submitting an application. During the application process, you’ll need to set up payment. This will be an ongoing payment (likely requesting monthly payments), so direct debit works best.

Remember to update and change your medical indemnity scheme as necessary. For example, you might want different coverage when you change careers or trusts.

Joining a Trade Union

When it comes to working a medical career, extra support is always good. As well as getting personal coverage for medical indemnity, you might also consider joining a trade union.

Trade unions are groups that work to maintain and improve working conditions for employees. As an NHS employee, joining a trade union means improving your employment terms while working for the NHS. It’s not a necessity, but it’s definitely recommended.

The two official healthcare trade unions in the UK are the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Hospital Consultants & Specialists Association (HCSA). Here are just some of the benefits they can offer:

  • Personalised advice
  • Negotiate better pay
  • Training opportunities
  • Negotiate better working conditions
  • Legal consultation

Of course, there are fees to join a trade union, but these are often considered more than worth it for what they offer in return.

In Summary

Medical indemnity is crucial for all UK doctors. It’s hopeful that you’ll never have to use it, but sometimes unfortunate circumstances happen, and you’ll want to be sure you’re protected no matter what. It’s all about protecting your professional image and medical career! While the NHS offers their standard indemnity, seeking additional personal coverage provides an extra layer of protection for peace of mind.

If you would like to know more about working in the NHS including all of the latest NHS job openings for doctors then get in touch and we’ll keep you updated.