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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


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GP, Manchester

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