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Medical Malpractice Insurance

Medical Malpractice Insurance

The RCM provides Medical Malpractice Insurance (MMI) cover for full midwife and maternity support worker members employed in providing National Health Service (NHS) care directly, through agencies or through an NHS contract. It also covers midwife teacher members employed in universities with arrangements with the NHS and student midwife members undertaking clinical and elective placements in the NHS.

For more than 90% of RCM members MMI is very straightforward and you are covered for all of your NHS work, because the NHS assumes vicarious liability for the care you provide.

Some NHS employed midwives may wish to provide, on an occasional basis and in their own time some additional maternity care or related services. In addition, some midwives wish to undertake voluntary work either in the UK or overseas, with some student midwives seeking to undertake overseas elective placements. Whilst the RCM cannot give a blanket extension to our Insurance we can provide cover for these activities in some circumstances, and these are described more fully below.

If after reading this you are unsure about your cover please contact us at: membership@rcm.org.uk

Medical Malpractice Insurance Benefits

The main benefits of this insurance policy, are as follows.

  • Insurance cover for all members who are providing healthcare services within the NHS. This includes Maternity Support Workers (MSWs) and students midwives, including their electives within the NHS, with no special conditions attached.
  • The limit per claim is £5million. (The total limit in any one year for all RCM members is £10m).
  • Legal expenses cover of up to £25,000 per claim.
  • Good Samaritan Acts.
  • A member providing first aid services at a voluntary event may be covered depending on the nature of the role (see Key Facts information).
  • Overseas voluntary work/teaching assignments and placements may be insured, depending on the nature of the role and the country where the assignments take place. Advance notice to the RCM is required for cover to be considered (see Key Facts information).
  • Antenatal and postnatal education, complementary therapies and exercises including aqua natal classes are covered where provided outside of the NHS on an occasional basis (see Key Facts information).
  • Cover for past liabilities extends to retired and associate members.


These Key Facts and the Frequently Asked Questions have been prepared to help clarify arrangements.

They are not legally binding and if you are not clear whether you are covered, or remain concerned that you do not fit into any of the categories described here, please email the RCM on membership@rcm.org.uk

 


Frequently asked questions on the RCM Medical Malpractice (Professional Indemnity) insurance 

1. 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.  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) you also deliver complementary therapies, undertake ultrasound scanning, antenatal education or exercise classes, you will be covered.

The Insurance Scheme covers both

  1. the legal costs of defending a claim for damages and
  2. any damages awarded.

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

 

2. Who is covered under the Policy?

  • Full members of the RCM who are directly employed in the NHS are covered for all of the midwifery and nursing practice undertaken as part of their employment.  
  • Full members who are working for the NHS through an agency; only with respect to those healthcare services commissioned by the NHS.
  • Full members who are working in private companies that are contracted with the NHS to provide NHS care; only with respect to those healthcare services commissioned by the NHS.
  • 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 undertaking nursing work  in the NHS whilst they are student midwives.
  • Maternity Support Worker members are covered for work undertaken in the course of NHS employment.
  • All members are also covered for Samaritan Acts worldwide. Samaritan Acts 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”.
  • Retired members who are no longer in midwifery practice continue to be covered for all past liabilities, as long as they were a full member at the time of the incident and have continued to maintain membership in the retired or associate categories of the RCM.

 

3. What are the benefits of the insurance policy.

In situations where NHS vicarious liability does not respond, members covered by this policy benefit from protection against claims for damages relating to alleged or actual bodily injury to a patient or client arising from an adverse clinical incident, up to a limit of £5million.

Members have the benefit of up to £25,000 in legal defence costs to defend any claim bought by an employer, a medical defence organisation, or an insurance company relating to a claim under this policy.

 

4. Extension of cover under the Policy

In addition to NHS provided or funded midwifery and nursing work, RCM members may be involved in other activities inside and outside of work that could give rise to a claim.  In some circumstances the RCM policy will also cover these:

a. A midwife providing first aid services at a voluntary or charity event

  • If the first aid services are of low risk
  • If the event is in the UK
  • If the event lasts no more than 48 hours
  • And your first aid services are occasional and no more that 20 days in total during your membership year.

b. Overseas voluntary work/teaching assignments

Overseas voluntary work/teaching assignments can be complex in nature, so the Insurance cover does not automatically cover this liability and there is no guarantee that insurance cover will extend to such assignments. In the event that a member is volunteering or teaching overseas and requires cover, advance notice is required and any application should provide the following:

  • The country of placement
  • The length of duration of the placement
  • Details of the nursing and or midwifery services being provided and if the services will be observational or hands on
  • Details of the insurance arrangements of the sponsoring organisation

c. Student midwives’ overseas elective placements

Overseas elective placements can be complex in nature so the Insurance cover does not automatically cover this liability and there is no guarantee that insurance cover will extend to such placements. Therefore in the event that a member is planning an overseas placement and requires cover, advance notice is required and any application should provide the following:

  • The country of placement
  • The length of duration of the placement
  • Details of the nursing and or midwifery services being provided and if the services will be observational or hands on
  • Details of the insurance arrangements of the sponsoring organisation.

d. Antenatal and postnatal education, complementary therapies and exercises including aqua natal classes

RCM members wishing to provide occasional, paid-for services outside of their employed work will be covered provided they are appropriately qualified and competent and practicing within the parameters of the NMC Midwives Rules. 

This includes:

  • Antenatal and postnatal education
  • Complimentary therapies  
  • Breastfeeding and infant feeding support
  • Antenatal Exercise classes
  • Aquanatal classes (but excludes public liability insurance)
  • Advice on Baby care including massage

 

5. Who is not covered under the Policy?

  • Independent Midwives (except for Samaritan Acts)
  • 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
  • Student midwives’ overseas elective placements unless approved by the insurers of the RCM scheme, as described above
  • Midwives’ overseas voluntary placements, unless approved by the insurers of the RCM scheme, as described above
  • Midwives working overseas
  • Midwife researchers, academics or others who are undertaking work that is not midwifery practice, such as social research.   
  • Any midwives undertaking work that is not by definition the provision of professional healthcare services such as acting as an expert witness, drafting or editing clinical papers or books.
  • Midwives who set up a business specifically to offer midwifery classes or therapies.

 

6. 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 respond in the event of a critical injury that prevents you working.

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