The now entrenched demand that those who apply for masters straining in clinical subjects obtain indemnity cover had generated more heat than light. Many an applicant would like to know why this is paramount before one is even considered for interviews.
From the onset, my personal opinion about this requirement is a big nay. Professional indemnity takes over in cases one, practicing on their own is involved in a legal suit arising from acts of omission or commission while discharging duties of their profession.
For started, persons applying and joining teaching hospitals do so to be taught and are not in any way entitled (whatever they do in these facilities cannot be termed as private practice) do private practice.
It is therefore expected that these apprentices who act and discharge their duties at the behest of their tutors are at all times guided and whatever they do is at all times interrogated. Thus the teachers must indemnify the trainees by bearing overall responsibility. Moreover, the teachers in medical school do not in any way participate in deciding who presents for treatment, procurement of supplies and support services and overall quality of care. Thus, to indemnify trainees on the assumption that the working and/or training environment is in a way that favors best practices is sheer naivety.
So who should take responsibility in indemnifying against unwanted treatment outcomes? My considered opinion is that the training facilities ultimately should bear overall responsibility. They are the custodians of quality and all attributes of quality, processes, staffing and procurement processes. In addition, they define the nature of patients who patronize their facility. Hence it cannot be that having envisaged possible shortcomings in their quality assurance, the training institutions would rush to demand legally unfounded indemnity
That said, the training facilities act with absolute discretion to determine what to demand and what not to demand for. Furthermore such single handed decisions are passed to training institutions who are arm twisted to pass it to trainees without raising queries due to loosely crafted memorandum of understanding. The same MOUs allow universities turn a blind eye when hospitals mistreat, discriminate and intimidate their students due to fear of unspecified consequences
Finally, there is one entity that should define this ranging debate on PIs as prerequisite for application and short listing for post graduate training. This is the courts! The regulatory bodies such as Medical Board and Poisons Board lack locus standi to dictate to other state agencies and training schools and hospitals on what to list as minimum requirements for application. At best these interested regulators can provide an opinion what may be adopted on ignored by the universities/training hospitals. And that is my opinion