From 1 January 2016 new registration standards apply to medical practitioners. These can be accessed via the Medical Board website.
The National Law requires that a registered doctor must not practise their profession without professional indemnity insurance that meets the registration standard.
There are some key changes to the requirements that are important for doctors to note, as follows:
When you apply for registration and at renewal of your registration
- Previously, doctors were required to complete a declaration confirming they have, or will have, appropriate insurance for the scope of their practice in the relevant period
- In future, when applying for registration, doctors must declare they have practised in accordance with the standard for the preceding registration period and will not practise unless they have professional indemnity insurance in place which meets the standard and they must provide a declaration confirming this annually at renewal.
Evidence of cover
For doctors in private practice with their own insurance
- Previously the requirement was to retain relevant records and provide evidence of cover if requested by the Board
- The new requirement is that doctors must retain evidence of insurance for 5 years.
For those doctors indemnified by their employer or covered under contractual arrangements
- Previously the requirement was to retain evidence of cover where it is provided by the employer, but there was no requirement to seek it – the Board may have asked doctors to obtain it from their employer
- The new requirement is that doctors are not required to obtain documentary evidence of cover unless requested by the Board, but must provide a certified certificate of currency or a letter declaring they are covered, if requested
- MIGA continues to recommend that doctors who are indemnified by their employer obtain written evidence of their cover or indemnity to fully understand its scope and, most importantly, any limitations.
- This covers you for claims that may be made in the future in relation to incidents or circumstances that occurred during prior practice (i.e. for something that occurred in the past)
- Previously there was no explicit reference to retroactive cover in the standard although it would arguably have been part of the general requirement to have appropriate cover
- The new requirement for doctors in private practice is that they must have appropriate retroactive cover in place for claims arising out of or as a consequence of activities in the course of practice prior to the commencement of cover.
When you cease practice
- Previously there were no explicit requirements for retiring practitioners, but cover was arguably required as part of holding run-off cover
- From now on the requirement is that if you cease practice, you must take out appropriate run-off cover for past practice in Australia for claims that may arise out of, or are a consequence of, activities that were undertaken when conducting practice.
There are consequences for non-compliance with the above which can include disciplinary proceedings. Such an action could conceivably lead to adverse findings against you, conditions on your registration, and potentially refusal to register you or renew your registration.
When you insure with MIGA, we always talk to you about your specific requirements to make sure the above are addressed. The insurance offered by MIGA can meet all of your cover needs and our staff are licensed to provide personal advice, which means when you call us for help we will provide you with advice that is relevant to your personal circumstances.
If you are currently insured with MIGA and are not clear if your cover meets the new requirements, please call your dedicated Client Services Officer on 1800 777 156. If you are not insured with MIGA, please call us as we would be pleased to assist you.