Nurses may be forced to take out clinical negligence claim insurance
According to reports in the Nursing Times, nurses could be forced to take out their own indemnity insurance against clinical negligence claims. The reports state that a consultation document has been drafted by the Government, although it has been postponed from its publication date last week, after union intervention.
The medical journal suggests that, if the proposals in the delayed document resurface, the insurance demanded would cost nurses up to £500 per year, and may "open the floodgates" that would allow compensation claims to be taken out against individual nurses. It has also been suggested that these proposals could discourage nurses from taking on new or more complex responsibilities if the risk of doing so is perceived to be greater.
Currently most NHS staff enjoy 'vicarious' indemnity while within their work environment through their employer. The consultation document is understood to have proposed that nurses should take out compulsory indemnity before being allowed to practise. Doctors and consultants already have an obligation to be indemnified against clinical and medical negligence compensation claims.
Neither the Government nor medical unions were willing to comment on the story to Nursing Times. However, a 2006 comment from Patricia Hewitt, the former Health Secretary, has been cited that referred to all NHS staff being indemnified against clinical negligence claims as a Governmental "aspiration".