Important message from the Secretary for ANF members regarding Professional Indemnity Insurance

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY IN RESPECT OF NATIONAL REGISTRATION AND ACCREDITATION FOR ACT ANF MEMBERS IN RESPECT OF PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE

ACT ANF – WORKING FOR AND ON BEHALF OF MEMBERS

Dear Members

As you are aware, National Registration and Accreditation for Nurses and Midwives will be introduced on July 1 2010.   It will be a requirement that nurses and midwives have professional indemnity insurance as per s.129 of the Health Practitioners Regulation National Law and the associated National Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) Professional Indemnity Insurance Arrangements Standard.

Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) secures the practitioner insurance from civil liability. Operating without PII, could lead to civil liability claims for damages, negligence, and also claims in respect of allegations of unprofessional conduct against nurses and midwives.

Professional Indemnity Insurance is insurance taken out to financially cover the practitioner, should they as an individual be sued by another party. Should a civil case be raised against a nurse or midwife as an individual, the employer based liability cover may not apply.

PII covers the health practitioner as an individual particularly in terms of, but not limited to, an adverse or unexpected outcome for a patient, or an error or omission on the part of the nurse or midwife while providing professional services, a breach of patient confidentiality, or libel and slander. PII also covers an unintentional breach of Trade Practices legislation, or unintentional infringement of rights to intellectual property, as well as claims arising from rendering, or failing to render, emergency first aid and assistance (Good Samaritan Acts).

The new NMBA Standard affects a range of healthcare practitioners throughout the ACT including registered and enrolled nurses, registered nurses endorsed as nurse practitioners, registered midwives, and registered midwives endorsed as midwife practitioners. They do not apply to students of nursing and midwifery or to nurses and midwives who have non-practicing registration.

Although most  nurses and midwives in the ACT are employees rather than independent practitioners and should be covered by the  vicarious liability of their employer, vicarious liability is not professional indemnity insurance and it is yet to be determined if this liability cover will meet the requirements of the new legislation and NMBA Standard.

Therefore, the Federal Executive of the ANF considered that the new legislation and NMBA Standard is confusing and to that end sought clarification in respect of the PII and its applicability nationally to Australian nurses and midwives.  This is particularly relevant because as of July 1 2010, nurses and midwives seeking registration and registration renewal will be required to declare that appropriate PII arrangements are, or will be, in place. The ACT ANF has, as a matter of urgency, investigated options to offer ACT ANF members PII as part of their membership.

Following this investigation, and in an effort to ensure that ACT ANF members are not disadvantaged in any way by the introduction of the new legislation and PII requirements, the ACT ANF has contracted to provide ACT ANF members  with PII as part of their membership as of 1 July 2010.

The cover is the most comprehensive and cost effective option available and is consistent with the PII offered by ANF branches in Tasmania, Victoria, NT and by the QNU.

Final contract details are yet to be concluded with the insurer but members can be assured that you will be covered by appropriate PII as of 1 July 2010.

Once the final contract details are completed, members will be notified by mail of the details of the policy and level of cover and will be provided with a copy of the Insurance Schedule to meet the requirements of the National Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia Professional Indemnity Insurance Arrangements Standard.

Yours sincerely

Jenny Miragaya

Secretary

29 June 2010

“THE COLLECTIVE – MUCH STRONGER THAN THE INDIVIDUAL”

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