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Darzi Review: MPIG phase out confirmed as part of NHS overhaul

By Steve Nowottny

The MPIG is to be scrapped as part of the wide-ranging NHS Next Stage Review, Health Secretary Alan Johnson announced today.

The ground-breaking review, published today after a year-long consultation by surgeon-turned-health minister Lord Darzi, lays out the Government's blueprint for the NHS in England, and proposes a number of measures likely to shake-up general practice.

As revealed by Pulse earlier this month, the review ends months of speculation and confirms that the MPIG will be axed.

The report says: ‘At present, most GP practices receive historic income guarantees that do not necessarily bear relation to the size or the needs of the patient population they now serve, or the number of patients they see.'

‘We will work with GP representatives to manage the phase out of these protected income payments, so that more resources can go into providing fair payments based on the needs of the local population served by each practice.'

Launching the report, Mr Johnson said the MPIG ‘militates against people accessing choice.'

‘It is also a barrier to tackling health inequalities,' he added.

Among the other proposals in Lord Darzi's wide-ranging report:

- Patients' right to ‘choice' is to be enshrined in the new NHS constitution. ‘Choice should become a defining feature of the service', the report concludes, with a particular emphasis on choice in primary care.

- PCT staff are to be given a ‘right to request' setting up social enterprises to deliver services – potentially meaning nurse-led companies could go head-to-head with GP practices competing to deliver patient services.

- An increased role for the private sector in managing PCTs. The Department of Health will establish, on behalf of SHAs, a list of private sector organisations that can help PCTs develop the capabilities of their management boards.

- New incentives to encourage NHS providers to pay a higher regard to quality. From 2010 at the latest payments will reward improved outcomes, funded by money freed up reducing the Payment by Results tariff uplift.

NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson said the report would be critical to how the NHS worked at a local level over the next few years.

‘In my 32 years of management in the NHS I've never seen a report quite like this,' he said.

‘In terms of implementation, this is not something NHS organisations are expected to do on top of all the other things that they do – this is what they do.'

Lord Darzi: vision spells out end of MPIG Lord Darzi: vision spells out end of MPIG

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