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Dozens of practices face closure under QOF prevalence changes

By Steve Nowottny

Dozens of GP practices face the threat of closure as a result of the scrapping of the square root formula for QOF prevalence, the GPC believes.

PCTs have been told by the Government to work with practices hit hard by the changes, such as by developing local incentives to keep them afloat.

But in the starkest warning yet over the QOF prevalence shakeup, GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said yesterday that many PCTs have failed to even begin talks on any kind of rescue package – leaving ‘tens, maybe hundreds'' of the worst hit practices facing closure.

‘There are university practices that are going to take a serious drop in income to a level that they will have to question their viability or sack people,' he said. 'We're not talking about a few quid, we're talking huge sums of money.'

‘It won't suit patients if some practices, a small number admittedly, have to fold… It's a small number, but for their patients it's 100%.'

While most PCTs have begun negotiations with LMCs on how to protect the hardest hit practices, a significant minority – including every PCT in London – have failed to do so. GPC leaders are to meet with health minister Ben Bradshaw and encourage him to put renewed pressure on PCTs.

Dr Buckman said: ‘Some SHAs and PCOs have not gone into this in any kind of detail and have made no attempt to contact practices.'

‘There are parts of the country where no discussion has taken place, where nothing has happened, where practices do not know who they are and where there is a significant risk that people are going to get a nasty shock in April and a nastier shock in 2010.'

Earlier this week Pulse finally forced the Department of Health to release its secret list of practices which will win and lose under the changes.

Dr Laurence Buckman: admits a wave of practice closures is possible Dr Laurence Buckman: admits a wave of practice closures is possible

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