HC Deb 08 February 2001 vol 362 cc655-6W
Mr. Hilary Benn

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidance he issues to GPs on the use of deputising services in respect of liability insurance for medical negligence; [149094]

(2) in the last 10 years how many GPs found guilty of medical negligence have not held medical insurance; [149098]

(3) what statutory provisions govern the employment by GPs of deputising services; [149095]

(4) since which date GP deputising services have been required to ensure that the GPs they employ hold medical insurance; [149097]

Ms Stuart

The statutory provisions governing the employment by general practitioners of deputising services can be found in Schedule 2 of the General Medical Services (NHS) regulations 1992 (as amended). These require that a doctor shall take all reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that the service provided by the deputising organisation is adequate and appropriate and that the doctors it supplies are suitably experienced and are not subject to disciplinary action.

However, no specific guidance has been issued to GPs on the use of deputising services in respect of liability insurance for medical negligence or medical insurance. It would be considered good practice for all providers of services to the National Health Service to ensure that all doctors they employ have adequate indemnity.

Information on the numbers of GPs found guilty of medical negligence who did not hold medical insurance is not held centrally.

Following the independent review of GP out-of-hours services published in October 2000, all out-of-hours providers are to be required to meet new quality standards.

Only organisations (such as co-ops and those providing deputising services) that demonstrate they can meet and maintain the quality standards will be accredited to provide out-of-hours services. One of the quality standards is for accredited organisations to hold indemnity cover.

The legislation necessary to give health authorities the power to accredit out-of-hours organisations is currently being considered by parliament as part of the Health and Social Care Bill.