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Medical malpractice insurance

Medical Malpractice Cover
The RCM has recently renegotiated its Medical Malpractice cover for liability for damages awarded for injury, death or illness alleged to have been caused by malpractice in the provision of professional services.
The main benefits of your new insurance policy, are as follows:
  • We now  provide insurance for all our members including MSW and Students with no special conditions attached and inc their electives, *
  • Legal expenses cover of up to £25,000 per claim and £100,000 in the aggregate is included
  • The limit per claim has been increased from £3 mill to £5 mill and the aggregate limit increased from £9 mill to £10 million
  • A midwife providing nursing services at a voluntary event or as a Samaritan act is insured, at no additional cost (Please note advance notice to the RCM is required)
  • Overseas voluntary work/teaching assignments will be insured, on a case-by-case basis, and if appropriate an additional premium would be payable, depending on the circumstance – i.e. length of assignment
  • Aqua natal classes are covered (Please note advance notice to the RCM is required)
  • The 10 year run off limit for retired and associate members has now been removed and has no time limit



The RCM provides Medical Malpractice Insurance cover up to £5m for full members  employed in providing NHS care directly, through agencies or through an NHS contract and for students undertaking clinical and elective placements in the NHS.  It also covers midwife teachers employed in Universities with arrangements with the NHS and Maternity Support Worker members.

For more than 90% of RCM members, Medical Malpractice Insurance is very straightforward – you are covered for all of your NHS work.

These Frequently Asked Questions have been prepared to help clarify arrangements if you are unsure how they might relate to you and your circumstances.  They are not legally binding and if you remain concerned that you do not fit into any of the categories described here, please contact the RCM on: membership@rcm.org.uk


What is Medical Malpractice Insurance?
Medical Malpractice Insurance provides cover for claims made as a result of bodily injury to a patient or client arising from an adverse clinical incident alleged to have been caused by a negligent act, error or omission that occurred during your work as an NHS midwife, nurse (if so qualified) or Maternity Support Worker.  It covers both
a) the legal costs of defending a claim for damages and
b) any damages awarded 

The Policy provides cover up to £5M, which is the highest cover of any trade union or professional organisation.


Who is covered under the Policy?
The Policy covers:
• full members of the RCM who are directly employed in the NHS.  You are covered for all of the midwifery and nursing practice undertaken as part of your employment AND for some occasional maternity services undertaken outside of work
• full members who are working for the NHS through an agency
• full members who are working in private companies that are contracted with the NHS to provide NHS care
• full members who are employed as midwife teachers in Universities which have a formal agreement with the NHS
• student midwife members undertaking their clinical and elective  placements within the NHS and under the supervision of NHS midwives in the UK (If you require evidence of cover, please contact us direct)
• student midwife members who are registered nurses are covered for nursing work undertaken in the NHS whilst they are student midwives.
• Maternity Support Worker members are covered for professional malpractice incurred in the course of NHS employment as an MSW
• all members are also covered for Samaritan Acts worldwide


Who is not covered under the Policy?
The Policy excludes:
• Some student midwives’ overseas elective placements, depending on insurance requirements in different countries. (please contact us with details of your visit)
• Independent Midwives  (except for Samaritan Acts) 
• Midwife researchers, academics or others who are undertaking work that is not midwifery practice, such as social research.  You are not covered because Medical Malpractice Insurance covers only midwifery practice rather than work that a midwife might do.
• Any midwives undertaking work that is not midwifery practice, such as acting as an expert witness.  This is not covered by Medical Malpractice Insurance but you might require additional professional indemnity insurance. (Please contact us to help arrange this additional cover)
• Midwives who are directly employed by a GP, including practice nurses, because GPs sit outside the NHS indemnity arrangements
• Midwives employed in private hospitals or clinics, because these are outside of NHS indemnity arrangements
• Midwives working overseas on a paid basis 
• Midwives who set up a business specifically to offer additional midwifery classes or therapies


What is covered by the Policy?
Medical Malpractice Insurance is designed to cover all elements of midwifery practice as defined by the NMC and ICM and other nursing duties that you are qualified and competent to undertake.  It also includes the scope of Maternity Support Workers role as defined by their employer.

If as part of your NHS work as a midwife, and you are practicing within the parameters of the NMC Midwives Rules and you are appropriately qualified to deliver complimentary therapies, undertake ultrasound scanning, antenatal education or exercise classes, you will be covered.

The Policy recognizes that some NHS employed midwives may wish to provide on an occasional basis some additional maternity care in their own time.  This cover does not extend to independent midwives or those offering these services as their own business. As long as you are appropriately qualified and competent and practicing within the parameters of the NMC Midwives Rules the Policy will therefore provide cover for:
•    Antenatal and postnatal education
•    Complimentary therapies (where these form a part of your NHS practice)
•    Breastfeeding and infant feeding support
•    Antenatal Exercise classes
•    Aquanatal classes (but excludes public liability insurance)
•    Advice on Baby care including massage

All members of the RCM are also covered for Samaritan Acts which are defined as nursing, midwifery or therapeutic care performed in an emergency situation where you are present by chance or in response to any general emergency call.

Some voluntary work in the UK and overseas may be covered.  This will be determined on a case by case basis and members considering volunteering are advised to contact the RCM.

How does the Policy Work?
You must have been an RCM member (in the appropriate membership category) at the time of an incident that gives rise to a claim on the Policy.
You must still be a member (in the appropriate category) at the time of making a claim on the Policy.

This means if you let your membership lapse you will no longer be covered.

However, in the event of your death the Policy will continue to cover any past liabilities.  The Policy will also cover you in the event of a critical injury that prevents you from working as a midwife or MSW. 

When you retire or are no longer in midwifery practice, you will continue to be covered for all past liabilities, as long as you were a full member at the time of the incident and you continue to maintain membership in the retired or associate categories of the RCM.

You must contact the RCM immediately if you are aware of any incident that is likely to give rise to a claim against you.


*excluding those that practice outside NHS who must ensure that their employer insures their practice.