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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Hoarse voice: an early symptom of many conditions

Dr Karol Silovsky's practice is on the verge of collapse after his PCT refused to reimburse his partner's long-term sick leave because the surgery is not in a 'high illness area'.

The decision by Suffolk East PCTs has left Dr Silovsky and his remaining partner sharing 6,700 patients and facing a £20,000 bill for three months of locum cover.

The practice is now planning to shed 1,200 patients.

'As a small practice we are unable to sustain this so we are looking at cutting our own salaries,' Dr Silovsky said.

'It is soul destroying. We are teetering and scraping through the week and using the weekend to survive. We are chronically tired and disillusioned.'

The refusal came as a shock because the PCT had paid sick leave of £945 a week when the same partner was off last year.

Dr Silovsky said he told the PCT of the latest absence in March, but only received a letter earlier this month turning down reimbursement.

'We assumed they would pay because they never let us believe they would not.

'But this time around they said we hadn't employed any locums, even though we have, and that this is not a high illness area,' Dr Silovsky said.

He added the practice would not be able to meet its tax bill in three months and may not be able to continue.

Jan Rowsell, Suffolk East PCTs' head of strategic communications, said reimbursement was discretionary and the trust was 'in extreme financial difficulty'.

She added: 'Two of our wards are among the top 10 in the country in terms of CHD and premature death. If a request came from there we might have to look at it.'

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