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Department of Health written question – answered on 14th July 2017.

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Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow Spokesperson (Health), Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the rise in indemnity costs, resulting from the change in the discount rate on personal injury payouts, on the incentives for doctors to practise in general practice.

Photo of Lord O'Shaughnessy Lord O'Shaughnessy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The Department is aware that the rising cost of indemnity is an area of concern for general practitioners (GPs).

In July 2016 NHS England published a GP Indemnity review which gathered evidence from GPs about the impact on rising costs of indemnity, which found that:

- 95% of GPs surveyed have experienced a rise in their indemnity costs in the recent years;

- four fifths of GPs responded that they had been deterred in some way from taking certain types of clinical sessions due to the rise in their indemnity costs; and

- GPs told us that that if indemnity costs continue to rise at recent rates, this may act as a break on the willingness of GPs to join the profession, to remain in the profession, or to increase their workload.

In recognition of the rising costs of indemnity, NHS England put an extra £30 million in to the GP contract in March 2017 to cover indemnity-related inflation for GPs from 2016-17. A further sum of approximately £30 million will be made available for April 2018.

The change in the personal injury discount rate announced by the former Lord Chancellor (Elizabeth Truss MP) in February 2017 has significantly increased the cost of claims. The Department is working closely with GPs and Medical Defence Organisations to ensure that appropriate funding is available to meet additional costs to GPs, recognising the crucial role they play in the delivery of National Health Service care.

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