Legal and Clinical Liability
Liability is defined in the Concise Oxford Dictionary (Fowler et al, Eds, 2004) as 'responsible by law; legally answerable'.
The liability of the employer
Where a nurse or midwife is appropriately trained and qualified, and prescribes as part of their professional duties with the consent of the employer, the employer is held vicariously liable for their actions. In addition, nurse prescribers are individually and professionally accountable to the NMC for this aspect of their practice, as they are for other aspects, and must act at all times in accordance with the NMC code of professional conduct: standards for conduct, performance and ethics (2004).
As a result of a consultation on indemnity insurance in September 2002, the NMC recommended the inclusion of an indemnity clause in its Code of Professional Conduct that would require all nurses, midwives and health visitors to have professional indemnity insurance for professional activities that are not provided for under an employer's vicarious liability scheme. The clause states:
'The NMC recommends that a registered nurse or midwife or health visitor, in advising, treating and caring for patients/clients, has professional indemnity insurance. This is in the interests of clients, patients and registrants in the event of claims of professional negligence.