The Government should extend a state-backed general practice indemnity scheme to community pharmacy, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has urged.

RPS English pharmacy board chair Sandra Gidley called for pharmacy to be included in the Government’s proposals to implement a GP indemnity scheme that will protect GPS from the rising costs of clinical negligence claims.

The scope of the scheme will include activities delivered under the three primary medical care contracts – general medical services (GMS), personal medical services (PMS) and alternative provider medical services (APMS) – or as integrated urgent care under schedule 2L of the NHS standard contract, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The scheme is expected to come into force next April.


Disproportionate costs


The DHSC argued that the scheme will primarily focus on GPs because it said they face disproportionally high costs when purchasing clinical negligence cover. 

A DHSC spokesperson told The Pharmacist today (6 July): ‘The scheme will include some of the activities delivered by pharmacists, who will also benefit from the cross-government strategy being developed to tackle the rising costs of clinical negligence.’

It could not confirm what activities this included, as these vary according to location, it said. It will provide further details in due course and continue to closely monitor the rising cost of indemnity for all healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, it added.


Pharmacists’ concerns


Ms Gidley said: ‘We know that pharmacists are concerned about the rising cost of clinical negligence and we welcome steps towards making this more affordable for those working in general practice.

‘However, this should be extended to the whole of primary care, including community pharmacy settings.

‘Achieving a transformation in how NHS services are delivered means making the most of all the health and care workforce, and this must include those working in community pharmacy as part of primary care.’