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Doctors: Negligence

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 161850, tabled on 2 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 5 February 2021 to Question 147020, what discussions he has had with (a) medical defence organisations and (b) other professional bodies on the long-term impact the fear of litigation has had on doctors during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

8 March 2021

In April 2020, the Department wrote to National Health Service staff to reassure them that state indemnity for clinical negligence is in place to cover their work on the COVID-19 response even where services are reorganised. To enable this, in March 2020 the Government secured new indemnity powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020, to cover any parts of the response not in scope of the existing state indemnity schemes administered by NHS Resolution.

Also in March 2020, the regulators of health and care professionals, including the General Medical Council, issued a joint statement. This made clear that any concerns about registered professionals will always be considered on the specific facts of the case, taking into account the environment in which the professional is working, including the challenging circumstances brought about by COVID-19.

There have been no specific discussions between the Department and medical defence organisations and other professional bodies on this issue.

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