Crown Indemnity – Supposed to offer GP’s Protection but can lead to a Fitness to Practise Investigation.

As previously set out in our article about Crown Indemnity for GPs (CNSGP) which explains what is a Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practise (CNSGP) and what does it cover? This scheme covers clinical negligence claims for treatment provided on the NHS but it does not and will not cover criminal investigations, a coroner’s inquest, regulatory (GMC) issues, a complaint to the ombudsman from a patient, or a clinical negligence claim arising from private or fee-paying work.

Unfortunately it would now seem that there may be a fly in the ointment! It has been reported that when a clinical negligence claim is made by a patient against a GP, whilst the GP will benefit from Crown indemnity for such claims, they may well find that information about the claim is then passed to the General Medical Council (“GMC”) or to NHS England (or both) so that further investigations can be carried out, even where the patients themselves do not make a complaint to either of these bodies.

All GPs must be included on the Performer’s List for the area in which they work. They must also be registered with a licence to practise medicine with the GMC.

Should information relating to a clinical negligence claim be passed on to either the GMC or NHS England then the GP can expect a full investigation by either the GMC, NHS England (or both) into the issues that lead to the clinical negligence claim being made in the first place.

Worryingly for the GP in question, this could lead to Fitness to Practise investigations where the GP’s career is at risk should the GMC decide to refer the case forwards following their initial investigation. It could also lead to a Performers List Decision Making Panel (“PLDP”) which could mean that the GP’s name on the Performer’s List is made the subject of conditions (“contingent removal”) or their name is suspended or removed from the Performers List making it impossible for the GP to work as a GP in either their local area or nationally as a country wide alert will be sent out once such a decision has been made.

As we have set out in previous articles, the Crown Indemnity scheme does not cover the costs of legal representation for GMC or NHS England investigations and so for the GP without additional cover, they could find themselves without any legal assistance at all.

When this happens, who do you turn to? At Burton Copeland we have a team of experienced and specialist regulatory lawyers who can assist you with criminal investigations, GMC investigations, MPTS Fitness to Practise Panel hearings, Inquests and complaints made to the Ombudsman by patients.

If you need reliable expertise please contact our specialist regulatory and professional discipline team.