The Health Care and Associated Professions (Indemnity Arrangements) Order 2014
Prior to 2014, there was a dearth of consistency in the United Kingdom across the 8 constitutional healthcare regulatory bodies that fall under the purview of the UK Parliament. This is in regard to guidance or legislation dealing with the requirements for regulated healthcare professionals to have in place indemnity and insurance cover.
The four statutory Health Departments in the UK were aware of concerns arising from the fact that several healthcare professionals were practising without cover, or with insufficient levels of cover. Under such circumstances those being treated could have been left without channels of seeking redress in case of negative incidences triggered by negligence on the part of healthcare professionals.
Following broad consultation by the Department of Health (DoH), the Health Care and Associated Professions (Indemnity Arrangements) Order 2014 came into effect on 17th July 2014.The DoH received a total of 816 responses towards this consultation covering a broad range of concerns and views regarding the proposed legislation.
Order 2014 Provisions
The 2014 Order has made amendments to the legal framework that covers the regulation of medical doctors; dentists and other dental care practitioners; dispensing opticians; osteopaths; chiropractors & optometrists; pharmacists & pharmacy technicians, midwives & nurses; and all other professions who come under the umbrella of the Health and Care Professions Council. It makes amendments to professional liability insurance and indemnity arrangements introducing similar legal arrangements across the board.
The new legal guidelines cover fitness to practise, case investigation and adjudication, the Professional Standards Authority role, and the regulation of business activities and premises. The Indemnity Arrangements Order also covers the registration and renewal of professional’s licences, registration appeals, student registers, protected titles as well as protected functions.
The Registrar must be informed immediately by a registrant in writing if for any reason they cease or intend to cease having in force the requirements of the Order in terms of appropriate indemnity and cover. Also covered by the Order is a directive that covers the application of the rights of patients in cross-border healthcare. Member States are required to put into place professional liability systems covering patients receiving cross-border care.
Failure to Comply
The amendments contained in the Order 2014 clarify that a medical practitioner across the Member States cannot practice unless they have in force an indemnity arrangement in relation to that particular medical practitioner. Compliance failure with regard to the provisions can form a ground on which the Registrar can withdraw a licence to practise.
The Health Care and Associated Professions Indemnity Arrangements are meant to implement the main Finlay Scott review recommendations which contain the legal requirement for all practising regulated healthcare professionals across the United Kingdom to have indemnity or insurance as a condition for registration to practice.
The Indemnity Arrangements of 2014 sweeps away the inflexible and out-dated decision-making processes that were previously associated with the UK health legislation. The 2014 Order introduces a consistent and clear legal framework required to enable the UK regulators to maintain and uphold their duty towards protecting the public.