The contrast between State Backed indemnity and membership of the PDA

The PDA difference

At the very heart of the service provided to members by the PDA is the aim to defend the reputation of its members. This means that where compensation is needed to be paid to members of the public due to an error or omission this is paid. However, this is only ever done once the interests of the pharmacist have been thoroughly thought through and the compensation issue is handled in such a way that puts the pharmacists reputation at the very heart of proceedings.

An error that leads to the harm of a patient will expose pharmacists to a regulatory or other form of investigation. This may be at the hands of the employer, the local health administration, the GPhC or it will even involve the police. Additionally, such an error will often lead to employment disciplinary consequences and in the most serious of cases, it will also involve an appearance in front of a coroners inquest.

The PDA has extensive experience of representing the interests of members in all such situations and what it has learned over many years is that admissions made in any correspondence used in the handling of the compensation issue will often be relied upon later on in the process by the regulator, the coroner or even the employer. It is therefore vital that all of these matters are joined together in the pharmacists overall defence strategy. The main concern over the State Backed Scheme is that it will not be looking to connect its actions to the overall defence strategy of the pharmacist; because of this it could undermine the pharmacists position in any subsequent regulatory, criminal, or employment proceedings.

The Department of Health has stated;

The contract will protect the general practice workforce against rising indemnity costs by introducing a new and centrally-funded Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice from April 2019.

Because the State Backed Schemes use tax payers money, they are designed to look primarily after the interests of the patients and they will not seek to protect the reputation of the healthcare professional. This makes the new State Backed Scheme much cheaper to operate as there is much less legal and representational activity. This is ostensibly one of the main reasons why the government has chosen to launch it. The Department of Health has designed the State Backed Scheme in response to the spiraling costs of GP indemnity; which ultimately, the government has always had to fund through the GPs central contractual fee negotiations. Many GPs are currently paying in excess of £10,000 per year for their indemnity premiums and much more for any out of hours work. The government, through its annual contract negotiations with GP representatives, will no longer have to fund these Defence Union membership subscriptions. These subs fund the comprehensive defence of the GPs reputation and under the State Backed Scheme arrangements, GPs and others working in the GP practice could loose these valuable benefits if they solely rely upon the State Backed Scheme.

Little surprise then that despite the CNST being in existence in hospitals for decades, around 90% of hospital doctors are members of their respective defence unions, and more than 5,000 hospital pharmacists are members of the PDA.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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