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Professional Indemnity Insurance For Nurses

Professional indemnity (PI) insurance, in general, aims to cover policy holders, in the event of any claims filed against them for losses incurred due to errors or negligence in their line of duty. By definition, PI is applicable to all professionals. Indemnity arrangements are usually made by the employer in case the person is employed. Self-employed professionals buy their own cover to suit their specialisation.

Professional indemnity (PI) insurance, in general, aims to cover policy holders, in the event of any claims filed against them for losses incurred due to errors or negligence in their line of duty. By definition, PI is applicable to all professionals. Indemnity arrangements are usually made by the employer in case the person is employed. Self-employed professionals buy their own cover to suit their specialisation.

That said, all professionals employed in the health care industry, including nurses, are adequately covered by hospitals and health centres that recruit them, irrespective of whether the institution is a government or private organisation. Then why would they need their own PI?

Nature of the Job

By virtue of their job profile and scope, nurses function at the ground level of the health care profession, directly interacting with patients, monitoring/tracking progress, administering drugs and injections and assisting physicians. This is apart from handling a myriad of routine tasks, including passing on or translating the physician’s instructions to patients and their families.

Some of them double up as care-givers and make house-calls to treat patients who are unable to visit the health centre or hospital. There are a few others who work outside their regular jobs as well.

Given the busy work schedules, scope of work and the number of patients they attend to each day, they are at risk of facing claims related to negligence, administering the wrong drug, accidental drug overdose or a multitude of other alleged errors.

Possible Mishaps

PI can offer protection against claims not only related to professional negligence, oversight or errors, but also cover costs related to:
• Legally defending a claim
• Loss of earnings (in case the person is suspended or loses job)

In select cases, PI can help compensate other aspects – including but not limited to defamation, misinterpretation of facts, as well as suspect conduct.

Government Ruling

PI, for practising nurses and midwives, has been made a legal requirement since July 2014. The indemnity cover should be adequate to address all risks related to the scope and specialisation of the practice.

Nurses registering for practice or renewing their registrations are required to declare indemnity status. While there are no restrictions on registrations or renewals, PI is a must to start or continue working as a nurse in The UK.

Nursing - what is the worst that can happen?

As well-trained and upstanding pillars of our society, we like to feel that we can trust nurses with our lives (often literally)! Of course, the vast majority of these overworked and unpaid ladies and gentlemen act in a highly professional and responsible manner at all times. There are some, however, who do not fit that bill...

Nurse Needs Nursing

Many people like an alcoholic tipple at the end of a stressful day at work. For Sheila Fletcher - a nurse in Hull - the end of her shift couldn't come soon enough, so she decided to take a box of wine to her ward. After one too many tipples from said box, Ms Fletcher was so inebriated that she failed to notice that she had cut her own finger. Thankfully for her patients, one of which was a diabetic man who had not received any insulin, her colleagues noticed her erratic behaviour (as well as her bleeding finger) and alerted bosses. Unsurprisingly, a disciplinary panel struck the drinking caregiver off - citing "a serious departure from the standards expected of a registered nurse".

Night Nurse

When a healthcare assistant ran to find a nurse to help her with a violently ill patient, she was not expecting to find her sleeping like a baby. Unfortunately for Debra Jeffries - healthcare assistant at the Royal Bolton Hospital - this is exactly what happened. She found the on-duty nurse, Ann Leeming, comfortably propped up on a reclining chair, with a pillow and a towel as a makeshift blanket. After being woken by Ms Jeffries, the shameless nurse decided to catch another forty winks...for almost another two hours! Sadly for Ms Leeming, the Nursing and Midwifery Council weren't impressed with catching up on lost sleep whilst at work, and suspended her for four months. Which, we can only assume, she spent asleep.

Foiled by Facebook

It's never a good idea to upload pictures of you messing around at work to social media. It's an even worse idea to upload pictures of you messing around at work, when you are a nurse working at a hospital in which, allegedly, "1,200 patients needlessly lost their lives as a result of poor nursing care, neglect and staff shortages". However, when nurse Victoria Cooper and healthcare assistant Kim Pointon decided to have a food fight (using food meant for patients) in a side room off a ward in Stafford Hospital, that is precisely what happened.

The "food fight" was filmed by a third nurse, who duly uploaded the pictures to her Facebook account. Unfortunately for the three concerned, these pictures were spotted by a relative of a patient who she believed had died due to the aforementioned standard of care in the hospital, and who subsequently alerted campaign group "Cure the NHS". Unlike our previous two miscreants, however, the fate of these nurses is unknown. Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust would only confirm that they had "launched an investigation and appropriate action was taken". Whatever that means.

Caught in the Act

A Scottish nurse was left red-faced after his internet history was seen by colleagues as featuring some "interesting" sites. David Campbell, the Deputy Manager of a nursing home, had visited several sections of an adult website...including one entitled "Grannies". Despite shoddily trying to cover up his escapades by deleting his internet history, the randy nurse confessed all and received a 12 month suspension - with the panel concluding that his behaviour "was wholly inappropriate", although they did note that there was "no evidence that any harm has come to any residents in his care". Perhaps "grannies" are better perused in the comfort of one's own home...

Although we"ve seen some calamitous blunders and errors of judgement by members of the nursing profession, it is well worth noting that these are a handful in a profession of many thousands nationwide. Don't worry, the next time you"re in hospital - it's highly unlikely you"re going to be in the hands of a drinking, sleeping, food-fighting pornography fan!

Prudent Plus Ltd is an introducer appointed representative of Seopa Ltd, of Blackstaff Studios, 8-10 Amelia Street, Belfast, BT2 7GS which is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority number 313860. These facts can be checked by visiting the FCA website.

We do not give financial advice on this website. If in doubt get professional advice and always read the policy information before purchasing an insurance contract.