DoH expected to report back in the new year

Doctors and dentists should be legally required to have professional indemnity (PI) cover to safeguard the interests of patients, says Medical Defence Union chief executive Dr Christine Tomkins.

While insurance is compulsory for many health professionals in the UK, including optometrists and chiropractors, it is discretionary for doctors and dentists.

Under a discretionary policy, there is no contractual guarantee that a policyholder will be indemnified in the event of a clinical negligence claim.

“I think it would be greeted by the man in the street with incredulity if he heard that his doctor is not indemnified and neither is his patients,” said Tomkins, whose organisation defends medical practitioners against negligence claims.

The Department of Health is reviewing professional indemnity and expects to report early next year.