Riding the Clinical Pharmacist Waves: Next Funding Deadline Approaches

Written by MIAB's Head of Marketing and Sales Generation
The next funding application deadline for the Clinical Pharmacists in General Practice programme is the 23rd of November – so don’t miss out! 

The most recent announcement, in January 2018, approved funding for over 160 pharmacists. Including previously approved posts, it increased the number of clinical pharmacists from around 580 to over 1,100 across over 3,200 GP practices.

The programme continues to expand, and GP practices and other providers of primary care have been invited to apply for further funding to reap the benefits.

For example, a 2016/17 audit of workload impact at Wallingbrook Health Group showed that having a Clinical Pharmacist working four sessions a week resulted in over 400 hours of GP time saved over the course of the year. Over the years, the work has reduced the need for patient GP appointments by 30%, making a significant impact on GP workloads and patient outcomes.

Indemnity considerations

For organisations making a funding application, and individual Pharmacists moving into the role, adequate malpractice cover is vital to protect both the pharmacist and the patients.

It’s important to consider existing indemnity policies, and whether these will be suitable for Clinical Pharmacists, who face increased exposure to clinical negligence claims compared to their community pharmacist colleagues.

If a practice’s group Indemnity is held with a Medical Defence Organisation (MDO), it is important to check if Clinical Pharmacists are eligible to be added to the membership and if the coverage is relevant to the specific roles and responsibilities. Similarly, when looking at individual membership or insurance policies, the coverage must be pertinent.

Relevant coverage

For example, will the protection cover telephone triage, differential and un-differential diagnosis, flu vaccine administration and medicine management? Will cover extend to protect the principal (ie, the practice or care home) or offer Vicarious Liability to cover actions of both clinical and non-clinical employees in the event of a claim?

In terms of financial coverage, pharmacists working in a General Practice will face similar challenges to the GPs, so we can offer a £10 million limit of indemnity to cover the potential for higher claim settlments in this sector (subject to policy).

If the Clinical Pharmacist is to be employed across a Federation or group of practices, or a Care Home, will the coverage still apply?

MDO vs Insurance

Protection provided by MDO membership is discretionary, and in the event that the MDO Board decides to not defend a claim there is no contractual recourse to oblige them to do so, leaving members in a difficult position.

In contrast, an indemnity insurance policy has clearly defined policy wording and terms, which are contractual and enforceable in law. Additionally, both insurers and brokers are supervised by the Financial Conduct Authority, which ensures ethical standards and customer focus.

Cost implications

Customers have advised MIAB they have been quoted upwards of £3,000 to add a Clinical Pharmacist to their existing MDO scheme. With this in mind, it certainly makes sense to shop around – consider that insurance policies provide policy wordings and terms, so may be easier to make comparisons between cover.

Wider insurance implications

Another factor to keep in mind is whether other insurance policies are updated to reflect additional clinical staff members. For example, practices with Locum Insurance should consider adding the Clinical Pharmacists to the existing policy to ensure coverage and continuity during periods of sickness and absence.

If a Clinical Pharmacist were to join the Partnership there may also be implications for Directors & Officers Liability, Management Liability and other existing policies.

Clinical Pharmacy expertise

As approved provider of insurance services to the Primary Care Pharmacy Association (PCPA), LMC Buying Groups Federation, Londonwide LMCs, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire LMC, First Practice Management, Clarity Informatics, Cambrian Alliance Group, Alphega Pharmacy and more, primary care is what MIAB understands best.

Founded in 2002 as a provider of Locum Insurance to GP practices, MIAB has grown quickly and expanded the range of products offered and the sectors in which it operates.

For example, MIAB designed what is believed to be the first fit-for-purpose insurance policy aimed specifically at pharmacists in general practice. It provides appropriate levels of cover for all the duties and activities to be undertaken as outlined within the NHS England Senior Clinical Pharmacist and Clinical Pharmacist job descriptions.

The policy is available to existing Clinical Pharmacists, community pharmacists changing role and moving into general practice, and newly qualified pharmacists and prescribers. As litigation is often directed at businesses, this policy is also available on an 'Entity' basis to the practice, which ensures it is protected from claims made against employees.

MIAB is pleased to offer a discount on Clinical Pharmacist Indemnity Insurance to Full Members of the PCPA*.

For more information about Malpractice and Indemnity cover for Clinical Pharmacists, and to receive a no-obligation quotation or comparison, please contact Specialist Adviser, Montrose Bill, on 01438 870735, or montrose.bill@miab.co.uk.

*Subject to scheme

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