We asked MPS about what the advice is, and what are the indemnity arrangements if you’re concerned that you may be required to undertake duties that are outside of your usual role to help with the effort to manage Covid-19.
If you are asked to perform a duty that you would not normally undertake, regardless of the circumstances you need to assess whether you have the skills and competency to proceed.
This will include considering what is in the best interests of the patient. If you do not feel it is safe to proceed and that to do so would place the patient at greater risk of harm than not undertaking the duty that has been requested, then you should advise whoever has asked you to do so and explain your concerns.
It would be wise to record the details of this decision in case it becomes necessary to explain the reasoning behind the decision to act or not to act.
If Medical Protection members have any concerns about the duties, they are currently performing to help manage Covid-19 they should contact MPS directly for advice.
MPS have also recently submitted an article to The Specialist (ASMS publication) titled ‘When you are requested to work outside your usual area of expertise’ – the last paragraph touches on assisting members when they are working outside of their usual role:
“What protection does membership provide in these situations? The purpose of Medical Protection membership is to provide support and assistance for issues arising from clinical practice. That can be a help with a complaint, advice on how best to handle an ethical dilemma, legal and financial assistance with a clinical negligence case. Because every situation is unique, it is difficult to speculate precisely how a specific complaint would be dealt with. That’s why we have the flexibility of discretion to determine the types and level of assistance we can provide. Our indemnity is not limited by ‘small print’ exclusions. Medical Protection is able to deal with unpredicted problems from our members – for example, Good Samaritan acts in emergency situations, additional duties required of you to ensure patient safety during strike action by colleagues, and redeployment during pandemic staff shortages.”
Essentially, there is no impact on a member’s indemnity (from an MPS perspective – they can’t comment on other indemnifiers though…) if you are asked to perform duties outside of your usual role, as long as you are still practicing within your competence, ability and qualifications.