Indemnity definitions made simpler

The most important insurance cover that MIPS provides in indemnity insurance. Indemnity insurance for healthcare practitioners is also referred to as:

  • Medical indemnity (typical in Australia)
  • Professional indemnity (typical in the UK and for other occupations)
  • Medical malpractice insurance (typical in the USA)

One of the mandatory registration standards of the Medical Board of Australia relates to professional indemnity.

" All medical practitioners who undertake any form of practice must have professional indemnity insurance or some alternative form of indemnity cover...initial registration and annual renewal of registration will require a declaration that the medical practitioner will be covered for all aspects of practice for the whole period of the registration".

Interns and other public hospital employed doctors are covered by their employing hospital in terms of professional indemnity as the employing hospital is vicariously liable for the omissions or negligence of employees. This meets the AHPRA indemnity requirement. Hospital employed doctors are also frequently members of medical defence organisations (MDOs) or insurers to ensure they have additional back up cover for the provision of any healthcare that may fall outside of their work at the hospital (eg gratuitous work) or professional matters where your employer may decide not to represent you (e.g. Coroner Court appearance). This is generally available at no cost in these early years.

Once commencement of private practice, practitioners need to ensure that they notify their MDO/insurer to ensure indemnity cover is in place and commensurate with their new risk exposure. 

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