In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, NHS Resolution has launched a new indemnity scheme.
The Clinical Negligence Scheme for Coronavirus has been set up to protect medical staff against an increase in claims. Here, we will look at what this new indemnity scheme means and how it could protect the doctors, nurses and medical staff who are risking their lives on the frontline.
What is the new indemnity scheme?
The Clinical Negligence Scheme for Coronavirus has been launched to meet liabilities of specialised healthcare arrangements put in place throughout the pandemic. It has been established to meet the new powers set out in the Coronavirus Act 2020.
Additional indemnity coverage will be provided under the scheme for healthcare workers working within the coronavirus response. It also protects workers who are filling in for staff in other areas throughout the pandemic.
Healthcare workers will automatically be protected by the scheme. Cover will be included in relevant contracts NHS approved arrangements.
How it relates to the Coronavirus Act 2020
The Coronavirus Act 2020 was introduced on March 25th 2020. The new NHS indemnity scheme has been included in Part 1, Section 11 of the legislation.
During the pandemic, NHS staff, care staff and medical students are being called upon to carry out tasks they wouldn’t usually be doing. Retired nurses, GPs and surgeons have been brought back temporarily to aid in the battle against the virus. The indemnity scheme is there to protect them if anything goes wrong.
The Medical Defence Union has warned that the NHS could face medical negligence claims worth billions of pounds due to the coronavirus.
How negligence claims may change
Although the new indemnity scheme will protect NHS workers in line with the Coronavirus Act 2020, claims can still be put forward by those who feel the level of care received was inadequate.
However, the way in which clinical negligence claims are handled, will differ slightly. More cases will likely be settled outside of court, and delays may be expected. This is particularly true in cases where expert reports are required.
Court cases that do go ahead may be carried out virtually or over the phone. This allows them to maintain social distancing. If any rehabilitation is required, this too may need to be carried out virtually, or delayed due to a shortage of healthcare workers.
The new indemnity scheme introduced by the NHS could be seen as both a good and bad sign for patients. On the one hand, it highlights the increased possibility of mistakes and lack of care. However, on the other hand it provides protection to both healthcare workers and patients and their loved ones.
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