Should hospital doctors have their own medical indemnity insurance?
Hospital doctors across Australia that work in the public system are generally indemnified by the relevant state government or health authority that employs them. But what happens when a situation arises that is outside the scope of the hospital’s insurance parameters?
Hospital doctors across Australia that work in the public system are generally indemnified by the relevant state government or health authority that employs them. This cover provides support for claims arising out of any errors or omissions whilst performing the role within the hospital. But what happens when a situation arises that is outside the scope of the hospital’s insurance parameters?
There are situations that can arise in the hospital where an additional indemnity policy from one of the medical indemnity insurers can benefit the individual doctor immensely.
Work in private practice
It can be common practice for some public hospital doctors to undertake medical work in private practice whilst still employed by the hospital. Medical deputising, private locum work, and private surgical assistance would not be covered by the indemnity provided by the hospital and hence any doctor undertaking these activities would need their own indemnity policy as well.
Employment practices issuers
The policies provided by the medical indemnity insurers can provide advice, assistance, and support for any employment issues such as harassment, unfair dismissal, unfair employment contracts etc.
Training program disputes
If a public hospital doctor is in a training program and a dispute arises with the college provided the training some of the medical indemnity insurers provide support and advise in dealing with the college. This could relate to matters such as bullying, discrimination, and harassment.Coronial/criminal investigations and medical board matters
Many public hospitals do not extend indemnity to any staff who are required to submit to or attend a coronial or medical board enquiry. This can be an extremely stressful exercise and to have advice and assistance through a medical indemnity insurer is extremely beneficial.Volunteer work or good Samaritan acts
The hospitals indemnity would not extend outside of the four walls of the hospital. Any volunteer work a doctor may undertake, for example with a local sporting team, would not be covered by the hospital and create an exposure to that doctor. The same is true if they go to assist in an emergency out in the general public and their actions lead to a claim being lodged
The costs associated with taking out individual insurance is only minimal when considered against what you stand to earn across your career. A few hundred dollars in premium could save a 20-year career and a lifetime of income!
Understanding this and the differences in the big 5 medical indemnity insurance agencies can make a huge difference in your lifetime.
Questions? Please contact Andrew Harrison for an obligation free discussion.