The NHS routine immunisation programme protects against a number of diseases, but does not cover all infectious diseases which may be found abroad. The options for travellers seeking vaccinations include GP practices, private travel vaccination clinics and pharmacies offering travel healthcare services. Not all GP practices are signed up to provide free NHS vaccinations and not all travel vaccinations are available free on the NHS.  GP practices also provide occupational health vaccinations to protect their own staff. The sheer variety of services means that providers need to check whether theirs are covered under the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice (CNSGP).

Overview

CNSGP covers clinical negligence liabilities arising in general practice in relation to incidents that occur on or after 1 April 2019

CNSGP will provide a fully comprehensive indemnity for all claims within its scope to all  those carrying out activities in connection with the provision of NHS services for general practice under:

  1. A Primary Care Contract (GMS, PMS or APMS contract or as enhanced primary care elements under Schedule 2L of the NHS Standard Contract) or its direct sub-contract; or
  2. As an ancillary health service, as defined under the scheme rules.

It is the contract, not the nature of the role or location which is important in establishing whether cover is provided.  A useful starting point for considering whether CNSGP provides cover is the overview document provided by NHS Resolution the scheme administrators, available here.

Routine immunisations and flu jabs for patients

Routine vaccinations funded by the NHS and provided under a Primary Care Contract, direct subcontract or as an ancillary health service will be covered under CNSGP

Immunisations for which patients have to pay a charge (e.g. flu jabs where the patient is not entitled to a free NHS jab,) will not be covered under CNSGP and providers will need to maintain their own indemnity cover.

Travel vaccinations

Travel vaccinations funded by the NHS and provided under a Primary Care Contract, direct subcontract or as an ancillary health service will be covered under CNSGP.

Travel vaccinations for which patients have to pay a charge are not NHS services and therefore not covered under CNSGP. 

Occupational Health

Occupational health immunisations for patients will be covered by CNSGP if the service is delivered under a Primary care Contract, direct subcontract of ancillary health service (as above).

Occupational health immunisations for practices staff (e.g. peer to peer flu jabs for the purposes of employment) are not covered by CNSGP, as they are the responsibility of the employer as part of OH arrangements.  Registration of staff members as temporary patients will not bring the activity within the scope of CNSGP.

Additional cover required

Providers of non-NHS or private vaccination services and GP practices providing occupational health immunisations to their own staff) will need to maintain membership with a Medical Defence Organisation or other indemnity provider.

As CNSGP covers only clinical negligence liabilities, providers will need to check whether their indemnity cover is adequate for other eventualities.  This will include (but is not limited to) disciplinary and regulatory investigations, inquests and criminal prosecutions.

We recommend that providers familiarise themselves with the helpful guidance on NHS Resolution’s website, which is regularly updated, here.

How Capsticks can help

Capsticks has a dedicated team with experience of handling claims against GPs and other practice staff, as well as disciplinary and regulatory investigations and inquests. For further information, please contact Majid Hassan or Joanna Bower.