Cover for Surgical Assistants and Fellows
Incision believes that its medical indemnity and related cover for surgeons in private practice is second to none. But as the market leader, we also strongly believe in looking for improvements to the scope of our Members’ cover, even where our competitors are not yet offering any extra cover.
We’ve listened to the needs of our Membership and proud to announce that your Incision policy now includes, as standard, medical indemnity insurance for Surgical Assistants and Surgical Fellows. This cover will apply where the Surgical Assistant or Surgical Fellow is performing or assisting with surgery, under your direct supervision in person, and where they don’t already have their own individual medical indemnity arrangement.
We anticipate that this enhancement will benefit Members, Surgical Assistants and Surgical Fellows, and also your patients. It will enable Surgical Assistants or Surgical Fellows to work with you on private patients where they might not otherwise have been able to.
Surgical Assistants and Surgical Fellows are obliged to hold a suitable medical indemnity arrangement if they provide clinical care to a private patient. After all, they are performing a highly skilled and responsible role in the surgery, albeit working under your supervision, and it is possible that they could make a negligent error and harm the patient even where you personally have not been negligent. It is possible that the Surgical Assistant or Surgical Fellow personally could be sued by a private patient, so medical indemnity for them is essential.
But relatively few of them hold their own independent medical indemnity insurance. Many of them are NHS employees and their NHS work would be covered by State Indemnity. For most the cost of obtaining their own independent medical indemnity would not be worthwhile. Their work is rarely covered by a private hospital’s indemnity arrangement either.
Therefore you (and your patient) could face a situation where surgery for a private patient is being planned, but a Surgical Assistant or Surgical Fellow would have to refuse to assist because they don’t have their own medical indemnity. You and the patient could face delays while you identified a Surgical Assistant or Surgical Fellow who did have the necessary insurance, or delays while your first choice of Surgical Assistant or Surgical Fellow obtained their own insurance, or otherwise potentially compromise on the patient’s safety and go ahead without a Surgical Assistant or Surgical Fellow.
The Incision enhancement solves this problem. If Surgical Assistant or Surgical Fellow doesn’t have their own indemnity, then your Incision cover will provide it. If they were later sued in their own name, then they will be covered under your Incision policy even if for some reason you personally have not also been sued.
There is no need to inform your Incision insurers every time you will be performing or supervising surgery on a private patient with a Surgical Assistant or Surgical Fellow who will be covered for that procedure under your policy, so there is no extra administrative burden for you. But the usual notification terms apply if a claim is made or threatened against that Surgical Assistant or Surgical Fellow, so you would need to contact Incision if that ever happened. Remind your Surgical Assistant or Surgical Fellow to tell you if a patient indicates that they intend to seek compensation.
We hope that this enhancement to cover is welcome news, especially as so many surgeons will be working hard to clear the backlog of surgery caused by the pandemic and will need all the assistance they can get!
Incision Members can contact the 24/7 Incision Medico-Legal helpline if they ever need to discuss or notify these or any other incidents arising from their practice.