The challenges faced by South African healthcare professionals as a result of the aggressive litigation landscape include rising professional indemnity costs, stress and burnout.
To help address this, the Professional Provident Society (PPS), the financial services company focused wholly on providing solutions for graduate professionals, has launched a professional medical indemnity product, the PPS Health Professions Indemnity (HPI). This development is in partnership with ProAssurance Corporation, one of America’s leading experts in medical professions indemnity. The goal is to provide healthcare professionals with a lifelong, sustainable indemnity product, which will give them the peace of mind to practise their profession without constant concern about the financial implications of medical malpractice litigation.
“In developing the solution, we recognised that it had to provide sustainable indemnity. It therefore carries innovative features to provide the security of appropriate cover for the duration of a professional’s career, after retirement and cessation of clinical practice, and even after death” says Jaco van der Sandt, CEO of Health Professions Indemnity.
Founded on the three pillars of financial security, sustainable quality indemnity and active professional society engagement, the HPI provides qualifying PPS members with not only the full protection of South Africa’s financial institutions’ regulatory environment but also with contractual security.
This development in the market came at an opportune moment. A large proportion of South Africa’s healthcare professionals are faced with challenging work environments that impact on their personal health, according to the 2019 PPS Graduate Professional Index (GPI). Up to 73% of medical respondents admitted to being depressed and suffering from burnout, due to long hours (38%) and poor working conditions (23%).
Van der Sandt elaborated: “Medical professionals are reaching their own tipping point, as a result of working conditions. The chronic shortage of doctors and other health professionals, and a strained public healthcare system are putting medical professionals at greater risk of suffering from stress and burnout. This could ultimately lead to increased medical errors with the potential of increased medical malpractice litigation.”
Van der Sandt explains that HPI cover provides 24/7 medico-legal advice for policyholders without affecting their risk profile, comprehensive cover against liability arising from clinical practice, gap cover protection and claims cover for incidents that occurred prior to inception of the policy if required. It also covers locums and non-professional employees at no extra cost. Group practice cover with additional benefits is unique in South Africa.
In addition, PPS members with a qualifying financial product will have the value-added benefit of building further on their Profit-Share Accounts. The Health Professions Indemnity Cover allocates to a member’s Profit-Share Account if the member has an active Profit-Share Account and holds this product.