Overview:

All professionals are responsible for the services they provide – a lawyer providing legal advice, an accountant providing taxation advice, a medical practitioner treating a patient.

 Australian registered healthcare professionals (medical practitioners, nurses, dentists, optometrists etc.) are required by their registration to hold medical indemnity insurance (also referred to as professional indemnity) which complies with the standards set by their Registration Board. The standard for medical practitioners can be found at: http://www.medicalboard.gov.au/Registration-Standards.aspx

 Medical indemnity in Australia is usually structured so that privately practising doctors will hold their own medical indemnity cover.  A second policy, often referred to as ‘practice indemnity’ may be required to cover a practice entity and employees. Whether this second policy is required depends on numerous factors, and each insurer has their own definitions. Go to our Practice Indemnity page here to learn more.

 Below are Questions and Answers. Please contact us if you would like to discuss, or request a quote

This depends on a range of factors which can include your speciality, years of practice, billings, state of practice, claims experience. We’ve seen GP premiums under $5,000 and obstetric premiums over $100,000.
No insurer can claim to have the best policy for every single doctor. Your practice structure, business activities and types of employees can impact upon medical indemnity. Some insurers issue over 50 pages of documentation, scattered with fine print, legal and insurance jargon. It’s important to understand the scope of cover and what other insurances may be required to protect your assets and liabilities.
Probably not. Usually the call centre staff provide ‘General Advice’. This type of ‘advice’ does not take into account your personal circumstances. The staff have a duty to their employer (the insurer) and not to you as the customer. They are often reading from scripts and have limited knowledge outside of the insurance products their firm sells. They won’t tell you is there is a better product available from a competitor. You are better off with ‘personal advice’, provided by an insurance broker or adviser whose duty is to you as the client.
Medical Indemnity covers:
  • The insured practitioner’s legal liability arising from demands for compensation alleging a breach of professional duty (e.g. error during treatment of a patient).
  • The legal costs to defend or settle the claim
  • Other legal fees for non-compensation claims – such as a medical board investigation or coronial inquiry

Policy cover varies widely by medical indemnity insurer. On top of this there are a range of other insurances you will likely need to cover other risks in your practice.

You need to check this carefully. Each insurer is different and you may require an additional policy (commonly called a ‘practice indemnity’) to cover claims made against the practice entity and/or against employees. We can advise you on your options, and whether you need a practice indemnity policy. Go to our Practice Indemnity page here for more information
Ideally there will be a contract in place specifying the room rental doctor is running their own business and as such they are responsible for their own negligent acts. The contract should require they hold their own medical indemnity (and other insurances such as public liability and workers compensation). Generally a room rental arrangement will include you providing management and admin services to the doctor (reception, nursing support, billings etc). You will likely need ‘practice indemnity’ to cover your practice exposure (i.e. your staff breaching privacy of a patient of the room rental doctor). Go to our Practice Indemnity page here for more information.
Many doctors first starting out in private practice rent sessional space, rather than leasing/purchasing their own rooms and employing their own staff. In addition to medical indemnity, it would be wise to also hold public liability cover. For example, say you leave your bag on the floor and someone trips over it. If you have expensive portable equipment, you may also want to insure it. If you sign a room rental agreement, please check this carefully for any conditions, or send us a copy and we can review from an insurance risk perspective.
Absolutely. If you’re a public hospital indemnified doctor you can obtain medical indemnity for minimal cost – this will protect you in areas such as having your own lawyers to represent you at a hospital investigation, medical board matter, coronial etc. Some policies include cover for volunteering and good Samaritan acts.
There is a raft of complex legislation which is designed to protect registered healthcare practitioners (and patient’s rights to seek compensation when mistakes occur). Some of the legislation that underpins medical indemnity in Australia includes:
  • The Medical Indemnity (Prudential Supervision and Products Standards) Act 2003.
  • ROCS – Run-Off Cover Scheme
  • HCCS – High Cost Claims Scheme
  • ECS – Exception Claims Scheme
  • PSS – Premium Support Scheme