Coronavirus (COVID-19): indemnity provision for nurses - Chief Nursing Officer letter

Letter from Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer, about indemnity provision for nurses working across NHS and primary care services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dear colleagues

Indemnity provision for nurses working across NHS, and primary care services

To begin, I want to thank each and every one of you for your continuing hard work and dedication in these challenging and uncertain times. I am humbled by, and proud of, the courageous response of you and your colleagues across Scotland to this public health emergency. 

Many of you are, or may soon be, performing alternative duties in settings other than your usual workplace. I know that this can be stressful and might give rise to questions about the practical implications of working in these circumstances. I particularly appreciate that some of you will have concerns about your clinical liability when working in an unfamiliar environment.

I want to reassure you that arrangements are in place to ensure that no matter what work you undertake on behalf of the NHS and your employer during these unprecedented times, it is fully indemnified. I am confident that existing arrangements provide appropriate indemnification, and Scottish Ministers can act to cover unforeseen gaps in indemnity provision where it is deemed necessary.

As you know, it is a legal requirement for registered professionals to have in place indemnity cover appropriate for their practice. Everyone employed by an NHS Health Board or Special Health Board in Scotland who is working in response to the novel coronavirus is indemnified through the existing arrangements for NHS liability cover. This cover continues to apply if you are deployed outwith your usual work environment, such as to the community or a private care home.

For nurses who work in General Practice, the clinical liability cover provided by your practice still applies to regular work that ordinarily takes place on the premises. Where a Health Board asks a General Practice (or its staff) to take on additional duties beyond the ordinary work of a General Practice, such as supporting the COVID-19 Hub or the community nursing team, the Health Board’s NHS liability cover will apply to you.

I am grateful for your continued commitment to and support for the provision of health and social care during this ongoing pandemic.


Fiona McQueen
Chief Nursing Officer

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