In Australia, all medical practitioners and allied health professionals (dentists, chiropractors, nurses, midwives, optometrists, osteopaths, physiotherapists, podiatrists, psychologists, and pharmacists) need medical indemnity insurance because it is a mandatory requirement of registration. According to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (the organization responsible for the registration and accreditation of ten health professions across our country), a healthcare practitioner must hold a medical indemnity insurance policy that offers $20 million liability cover.
The indemnity medical insurance provides protection for both doctors and patients in case a harmful incident occurs during the medical care process. In case you didn’t know, an indemnity medical insurance policy covers the insured (the doctor or the medical professional) for both legal costs and the costs of awarded compensation if they are found responsible for causing harm by committing a mistake, omission, or negligent act. Medical indemnity insurance also provides protection for medical practitioners who train in a hospital in case their work results in a claim against the hospital made by an unsatisfied patient.
If you volunteer for non-profit organizations as a medical practitioner and provide medical care to the public in emergency situations, you should consider purchasing personal medical indemnity insurance to cover the work you do outside your workplace. A medical indemnity insurance policy will protect your reputation as a doctor and will provide cover for defense costs, fines for breaches of privacy laws, the costs of notifying regulators and patients about the privacy breach, and the loss of income when attending court.
When it comes to understanding medical indemnity insurance in Australia, the first thing you should know is that it is provided on a claims-made basis. Claims-made insurance policies provide protection for the insured only if they notify the claim to their insurance company during the period of coverage. This means that the insured is not covered if a claim is made against them after the indemnity period has ended. Experts advise all healthcare practitioners to do their homework and understand the implications of a claims-made medical indemnity insurance cover before they sign any papers.
It is interesting to know that, unlike claims-made insurance policies, claims-incurred ones cover all incidents that happen during the period of insurance regardless of when the claim is made (which may happen any time in the future). This approach is practiced in the UK.
Being a healthcare professional means dealing with complaints, legal action, and investigation, which is why taking out medical indemnity insurance is a must.