023 8051 3286 / 0800 028 5633

practice cover jury webA summons for jury service can create a frisson of excitement or a feeling of dread, depending on your view of the criminal justice system and the extent to which you want to be involved.

For your practice it can be tricky, both logistically and financially, to plan for it.

Courts allow those summoned to request a deferral in case, for example, they have a holiday planned or their work means that they can’t be spared. Until fairly recently GPs simply had to cite their indispensability and the Court would waive its summons.

This is no longer the case. I was talking to a GP today who had written back to the Court explaining he was a partner at a small practice and asking to be excused or to have the date deferred; he was told ‘no’ which meant the practice had just over a month to plan for his absence.

When a GP, whether a partner or a salaried doctor, has been summoned for jury service the practice manager has to look at:

  • pay for the ‘absent’ doctor
  • meeting the cost of a locum to provide cover for the ‘absent’ doctor.

Although employers have a duty and responsibility make an employee available to attend the Court, most partnership agreements and contracts of employment are silent about pay for the person who’s carrying out jury service.

The employer must provide the court with the earnings information and the Court will use this to determine the compensation they will pay to the individual.

Court compensation will not cover your absence

The problem arises in the case of ‘high earners’ where the Court’s compensation comes nowhere near the person’s earnings. This applies to the vast majority of GPs and also their key staff.

Would the practice want to continue paying the individual in full?

If so, how can they do this while also paying for a locum?

Most locum insurance policies can include jury service cover but it is crucial to check how the cover would work: policies differ in the scope and extent of cover.

  • Some policies don’t pay for the first few days of the doctor’s absence so, if the jury service lasts only for a few days, you get nothing.
  • Some policies cap the amount payable by the insurer so you can end up out of pocket.
  • Some policies limit the payment to 2 weeks, even if the jury services goes on for longer.

Practice Cover thinks differently, and ensures that the amount we pay takes all this into account and covers the individual adequately – and leaves the practice with no nasty surprises.

With GPs being less likely, nowadays, to avoid the summons, practices need to look carefully at their insurance to make sure it will perform as they need it to.

For further information or a quotation call Lynda at Practice Cover on 023 8051 3286 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

When you have spent years building up a successful practice, you need an assurance that it won’t crumble if you’re off sick.

Our Absence Insurance pays a weekly sum for up to 52 weeks to meet the fixed costs that will continue pouring in regardless.

We don’t need to see your accounts and you don’t need to ‘justify’ the amount you choose to insure for. It’s simple to set up and, if your practice depends on more than one person, you can include the other people in your insurance too.

With our flexible policy, you can also choose to cover yourself against other absences such as being summoned for jury service, needing compassionate leave or even being suspended from practising.

For further details on protecting your practice against absence, download our brochure here – or call us on 023 8051 3286.

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

We're incredibly proud of our achievements over the years, not least because we have received such great testimonials and continue to grow, even in the face of confusing NHS reimbursement changes. Here's why we think you should look at Practice Cover for your locum insurance.

SO3709 Practice Cover Why choose infographic v3

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

mark twain image

Earlier this year when the new GMS contract was announced many thought it was the end of locum insurance. To be honest, it panicked us, because we’re the only company in the UK that focuses 100% on locum insurance.

We could hear GPs’ thoughts. “Why would my practice need to buy insurance when the NHS would provide something similar?”

Get your facts first. Then you can distort them as you please*

The measures announced in the contract were designed to improve the financial position of GP practices – a good thing. In most part the measures were costed. For example, £156.7m has been set aside to cover for the discontinuance of AUA DES; £30m for indemnity insurance costs; and so on. 

But we asked the question, “where are the sickness absence reimbursement figures?”, because we can see that no cost has ever been publicly attributed to what was announced as a significant change in sickness cover reimbursement for GPs.

We’ve been talking to you. GPs are struggling to see where the funding is coming from. We are already hearing that some CCGs and health boards have a set amount of money, most already spent, and some GPs are finding it difficult to claim under their GMS contract.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable*

While we fell into a cold sweat with the GMS announcement, the facts have surprised us. GPs still recognise the need for locum insurance. They see the NHS sickness reimbursement as something of a lottery – not a statistical certainty.

Here’s what’s happened to us. We can announce our best ever year of trading since we started out. The number of GP cases is 27% up and premium income is 14% up (ytd 2017 vs 2016)

Of course we also provide locum insurance to other healthcare professionals, and the number of cases is 30% up and premium income is 19% up.

Honesty is the best policy – when there’s money in it*

We think it’s because our policies provide some certainty. For a relatively low premium practices have the chance to receive a payment from their locum insurance policy alongside the NHS reimbursement payment. For example, if a GP is insured for a monthly premium of £120pm the practice could receive £2500pm PLUS any claim made under your GMS contract.

We’re also very open about our service and our premiums. We haven’t increased our rates in almost 8 years, against a landscape of premium rises across the insurance sector. Transparency is a good thing to us. You know where you stand – and we have a very loyal customer base because of it.

  • Clients who have made a claim have not been charged a higher premium rate. That’s not how we work.
  • We have a ‘continuity of cover’ option with our locum insurance so that, if you become ill – let’s say you have a heart attack – our underwriters won’t exclude heart attacks from your future cover.
  • We include a no claims discount so premiums can actually reduce by staying with us.We can confirm that premium rates will stay the same in the foreseeable future – as they have for many years.
  • In the event of receiving a payment from the NHS, your locum insurance will not be affected – potentially a win-win for the practice.

Not insured yet? Well, the secret of getting ahead is getting started*. Click here to get a locum insurance quote.

 

* With apologies to Mark Twain for borrowing his quotes.
All figures are as at end October 2017.
** Cover for a full-time GP would cost around £120 pm (after tax relief) and, for this, the practice would receive £2,500 pw for up to 52 weeks (after a 4 week waiting period) in the event of a valid claim. 

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

lottery imageI was listening to radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ and they were talking about NHS funding of IVF.

The issue was around the NICE guidelines* which say that women over 40 should be allowed 3 cycles of treatment and that this is at odds with what is happening in reality. It appears that the dreaded ‘postcode lottery’ comes into play and, in some CCG areas you’d be lucky to get one cycle, never mind 3.

What’s this got to do with locum insurance?

Their interviewee – a GP and Chief Clinical Officer at a CCG – said that, notwithstanding the NICE guidelines, they had ‘difficult decisions’ to make as regards utilising the ‘set amount of money’ they have been allocated, they had to ‘prioritise’, and CCGs had to take into account ‘their financial position’.

As a locum insurance provider, this makes my alarm bells ring. In February 2017 a number of measures were announced to improve the financial position of GP practices and, in most part, the measures were costed: £156.7m to cover for the discontinuance of AUA DES, £30m for indemnity insurance costs, and so on.

One of the measures to which, as far as I can ascertain, no cost has ever been publicly attributed was a significant change in sickness cover reimbursement for GPs.

This was followed by speculation that this had killed off the need for locum insurance.

In the months that have followed we’ve seen that many GP practices have taken the NHS announcement with a pinch of salt. I have lost count of the number of GPs and practice managers who have told me they can’t see where the funding is coming from, they don’t think it will last, they will have to fight to get the money to which they are entitled and that, essentially, handing over their insurance to the NHS could be a very bad move.

In my view the NHS provision should be a safety net for those GPs whose health renders them either uninsurable or for whom locum insurance may be punitively expensive.

Where’s your peace of mind coming from?

If your practice is in an area where ‘difficult decisions’ need to be made and your CCG has only a ‘set amount of money’ which it has already spent it is not inconceivable that obstacles will be put in your way if you try to claim under your GMS contract for GP sickness absence.

In fact we have already had reports from GPs and practice managers of this happening.

So, what price can you put on that type of lottery? Locum insurance doesn’t come with such uncertainty. Cover for a full-time GP would cost around £120 pm (after tax relief) and, for this, the practice would receive £2,500 pw for up to 52 weeks (after a 4 week waiting period) in the event of a valid claim.

Unlike the payment from the NHS:

  • the practice wouldn’t need to submit locum invoices
  • the practice wouldn’t need to show proof of who’s covered the absent doctor’s sessions
  • payment would be prompt.

In the event of receiving a payment from the NHS, your locum insurance will not be affected – potentially a win-win for the practice.

If you’d like to know more, please call me.

Lynda Cox

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

Across the insurance sector premiums have been rising. It affects all of us and is a bitter pill to swallow when we haven’t made claims, pay on time and even show loyalty. Let’s look at some recent examples.

Comprehensive motor insurance premiums are up 19.6% on average over the past 12 months – and 8.3% in the last quarter according to the AA**. Third party, fire and theft premiums are up a whopping 24.7% year on year. The damage looks to be less when you look at home insurance premiums, with buildings up 2.4% and contents 3% over the last 12 months, but the trend is upwards.

Doctors, dentists, opticians and the like are not immune to the pain of these premium increases. All the more important, then, that you should find some solace in your locum and overheads insurance premiums.

Locum insurance and overheads insurance rates frozen – again

The good news is that Practice Cover has not increased its clients' premium rates... ever! Why? It’s because we value loyalty, and offer what we feel is the best insurance at the right price. While we can’t absorb tax increases – and sadly the rate of Insurance Premium Tax rose again in June – we have not touched our premium rates.

Our competitors are making price increases, and in a sector where insurers are paying out £9.9m every day* on protection policies this may not sound surprising.

But we have no plan to follow suit. Just look at the facts on how we’re adding value at every stage:

· At Practice Cover even clients who have made a claim have not been charged a higher premium. That’s not how we work.

· We have a ‘continuity of cover’ option with our locum insurance so that, if you become ill – let’s say you have a heart attack – the underwriters won’t exclude heart attacks from your future cover.

· We include a no claims discount so premiums can actually reduce by staying with us.

· We can confirm that premium rates will stay the same in the foreseeable future – as they have for more than 7 years.

These facts explain why we’re one of the most stable and cost-effective providers of locum insurance and overheads insurance on the market.

If you’d like to know more about our policies, then speak to Lynda Cox on 0800 028 5633.

practice cover insurance

 

* Insurers’ pay outs for protection policies, including income protection, critical illness and life insurance. Source ABI 2017.

** AA British Insurance Premium Index Q2 2017

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

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