Arranging Your F3 Year Medical Indemnity Insurance
So you’ve decided you want to have an F3 year! Hopefully you’ve had some thoughts about what you want to do with it and are looking forward to making some exciting plans.
But an important question that must not be overlooked is what kind of medical indemnity insurance you'll need, and how do you organise this? This article will explain why you need medical indemnity insurance for your F3 year, when to start organising it, and how to make sure you have the appropriate cover!
Why do I need indemnity insurance, and what does it do for me?
Indemnity insurance provides patient compensation if a patient has suffered harm as a result of clinical negligence, and also provides you with medico-legal support and representation. Having appropriate medical indemnity insurance is an important way for you to protect yourself while practising, and is a requirement from the GMC and the law in order to practise at any level. Really, you should already have indemnity insurance for your Foundation programme years!
You're required to have indemnity insurance which covers the full scope of your clinical practice, which may include private work if you’re planning on doing any during your F3 year.
For NHS work, the Trust you work at will have its own indemnity insurance through a clinical negligence scheme to cover your NHS clinical work. This applies even if you're locuming for the Trust, rather than a permanent employee. This provides indemnity for the Trust if a patient puts a claim in against them, but doesn’t give you individual advice or assistance.
You're therefore still required to have your own personal indemnity insurance to cover everything else, which includes:
- Clinical negligence in private and non-NHS work
- Advice and support in responding to patient complaints
- Protection for good samaritan acts
- Support and representation in GMC investigations
- Support with criminal investigations related to clinical practice
- Assistance in coroner inquests
What kind of insurance do I need, and who should I go with?
As with all insurance policies, it’s important to get the terms of your policy right. This means informing the Medical Defence Organisation (MDO) of all the work you plan to undertake and at what level of seniority you’ll be, including any private work, and making sure you’re fully covered for all of it before you start.
Generally for most F3s, where you’ll either be locuming, doing bank work, or in a Trust Grade/Clinical Fellow type position, the MDO will recommend a policy which covers any hospital specialty you might locum in. They may ask you roughly how many hours per week you’ll spend working in each one, although this is all guesswork until you start booking shifts. But as long as the specialty appears on your policy then you’ll be covered.
There are many different MDOs you could choose to go with, and it’s important to gather quotes from a range of places rather than just automatically going with the same organisation you were with for your Foundation training. You could be able to save a lot of money by changing over, so it's worth taking the time and effort to do it properly.
Here are some example quotes we received from some of the main MDOs:
MPS = £79 for a year as a full-time SHO, including all hospital specialties and a small allowance for private work. Individualised quote for more private work or other specific roles.
MDU = £315 for a year as a full-time SHO, including all hospital specialties. This is likely to cost extra if private work needs to be included, but would be an individualised quote.
MDDUS = £116 for a year as a full-time SHO, including all hospital specialties. The only private work they cover is assisting consultants in theatre (up to £10,000 annual income from this) for an extra cost. Otherwise, locum doctors aren't covered for any private work, so would need to be on a specialist register.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that these quotes can change year to year, so you should gather all your own quotes beforehand rather than relying on these being up to date.
If you’re planning on working in GP, doing a lot of private work, or more specific or perhaps unusual work (such as adventure medicine or working with a sports team), then it’s important to explain to the MDOs exactly what you’ll be doing so they can quote you for the correct policy.
For more specific work, you may wish to also gather quotes from MDOs who specialise in that area, and you can often get recommendations from the people who already work there.
When do I need to organise it?
Your indemnity insurance has to be in place by the time you start your work, and if the scope of your work changes (for example, you're going to start doing more private work, or work in a different specialty), you need to contact your MDO and inform them of the change before it's implemented. Depending on your circumstances, this may or may not affect your premium.
Generally, for straightforward hospital work such as a locum, bank, Trust Grade, or equivalent, you should aim to organise this around a month before you start because you may have to gather together some of your documents if you end up going with a new provider.
What if I’m working abroad?
If you're planning on working abroad, you'll need to allow more time to arrange your indemnity insurance among all the other paperwork you’ll have to get done, so it’s worth asking your new employer for advice about this. You can also check out our F3 Resource Hub for an extensive list of articles providing advice about arranging your F3 year abroad.
Our Top Tips
1. Have a clear idea of what kind of work you’re planning to do before you start
2. Get a range of quotes from different organisations
3. If you’re going to work part time or for a short period of time only, mention it to them for your quote as it may reduce your premium
4. Check carefully how much and which types of private work they will cover you for, and if this will cover what you’re planning to do
5. Inform them early if your scope of work is going to change
6. Keep your certificate safe, as you’ll likely need to send a copy to your employers or any locum agencies you sign up with
7. Start to organise it earlier if you’re planning to work abroad!
If you follow our guidance and stick to our tips above, it should minimise your stress, simplify the process, and you should be able to get fully covered for whatever work you’re planning to do. Then all that's left is to start planning your dream F3 year to ensure you have the best possible experience!
This article is part of a wider series, supporting doctors like yourself with a comprehensive set of guides to ensure your F3 year is a success. These guides cover everything from initial planning, options for moving abroad, help with finding work, and tips for making the most of the experience. Click here to visit our F3 Resource Hub to explore the full list of guides and articles.
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