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GP provider ditches 11,000 patient contract as 20% funding cut looms

A GP provider company has announced it is handing back a joint contract for five GP surgeries after it was told it faces funding cuts of up to 20%.

The Practice Group, whose five GP surgeries across Brighton - including one for homeless people - have 11,400 registered patients combined, said it would be ‘impossible’ to continue running them after the proposed funding cuts.

But the local CCG said the PMS contract is currently funded at a higher rate than GMS practices and that discussions were continuing.

A spokesperson for NHS England South said it has ’written to patients to reassure them that we are working to secure alternative arrangements for their care’.

NHS England regional teams and CCGs have until the end of the 2015/16 financial year to conclude reviews of all PMS contracts across England.

Last week Pulse reported that four senior partners at a practice rated ‘outstanding’ by the CQC were forced to quit a practice in Essex after an NHS England PMS review saw funding for the surgery cut by £400,000.

A spokersperson from NHS Brighton and Hove CCG told Pulse that The Practice Group had given NHS England ’notice of termination of contract’ prior to their funding review’s conclusion.

The PMS contract that the company holds covers the Brighton Homeless Healthcare, the Whitehawk Medical Centre, the Willow House Surgery, the Hangleton Manor Surgery and one based in Boots in North Street,

A CCG spokesperson said that ’a proposal had been put forward to reduce the extra funding the current PMS agreement provides these practices in a staggered way over four years’ but that it was ‘subject to further discussions and not a definite decision’.

She added: ’This extra funding equates to 20% more than the funding received by other practices in the city via GMS contracts.’

Although neither party has revealed what the funding proposal entailed.

It will be impossible to run these surgeries

The Practice Group said in a statement: ’The planned significant reduction in funding going forward that follows from the PMS review means that, in our view, it will be impossible to run these surgeries under present contractual arrangements.’

A spokesperson for NHS England South said it has ’written to patients to reassure them that we are working to secure alternative arrangements for their care and are continuing to work with NHS Brighton and Hove CCG to identify the available options’, with all patient feedback to be ‘taken into accunt in reaching a final decision about how to guarantee their future care’.

The Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas has also waded into the row, arguing it was ’vital that established GP surgeries should not be dismantled because contract negotiations with private companies falter’.

She urged NHS England to review the merits of each of the five practices individually, with the contracts ‘put out to tender so that other local GPs can run them as branches or GPs can bid to run them themselves’.

She said: ’It’s the responsibility of NHS England to find a solution to allow the surgeries to remain open, and that’s what I’m urging them to do.’

NHS Brighton and Hove CCG chair Dr Xavier Nalletamby said: ‘Patients registered at these practices do not need to take any action at this point and will continue to receive care at their surgery as normal.

GP practice closures continue

Stop Practice Closures-logo-online-330

Stop Practice Closures-logo-online-330

This is the latest practice to be facing potential closure, a trend that has been highlighted by Pulse’s Stop Practice Closures campaign.

Last week, Pulse reported another PMS practice that GP partners - whose practice had been rated ‘outstanding’ by the CQC - have handed back their contract in Essex after an NHS England funding review saw funding for the surgery cut by £400,000.

This month, six practices in England and Wales told Pulse they were considering closing due to GPs retiring early or becoming ill, leaving over 25,000 patients facing the prospect of moving practices.

Pulse revealed last year that more than 160,000 patients across the UK were displaced as a result of their practice closing in just two years.



Readers' comments (38)

  • Thats the way to do it. Money talks and bullsh!t floats.

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  • Hilarious. Now watch the CCG/NHSE cow-tow to the corporate to keep them onboard. If only we all had balls like that.

    GPC - fancy negotiating a real contract? No? Thought not. Guess we'll have to do it ourselves then. In the words of my esteemed Salaried GP colleague "Comrades, ditch the contract".

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  • The flip side is that you have to be giving vast sums to be able to cut 400,000 annually.
    If I run a GMS of 4100 patients with a global sum of 288000, you wouldn't be able to reduce it by 200000, would you?
    This only highlights that GMS Practices have been running on air while funding for PMS and APMS has been - should I say 'appropriate'- for, surely, they have been able to provide more services with their budgets than we have.
    Wholly understand the Provider who now has the pain of having to scale down staff and services from that level.

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  • 'ditch the contract comrades' is a locum, not a salaried. PM please.

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  • My sincere apologies Sessional/Locum GP old friend. I realised just as I hit the button, as clearly someone with that much sense would not be salaried.

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  • Totally agree with Sanjeev. We need a unified contract which is adequately resourced so need to continue the PMS Reviews, make it fair for all GPs but increase total funding significantly (latter request sadly unlikely to be answered with a "yes"!)

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  • Funding cut is about £35/head, which is not unsubstantial, but its not exactly the ritz either. Similar figure to the Chelmsford practice the other day too. Ps. has anyone compared the value of your contract/patient/year to the cost of insuring your pet rabbit? Need I say more.

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  • Anonymous | Practice Manager20 Jan 2016 9:54am

    This is not about having balls mate, most of us ditching 11.5k patients means ditching many year's work for 5-6 partners.

    TPG will still have 30 practices and WIC on their hands, - they can afford to be business-minded.

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  • Anonymous | Other healthcare professional20 Jan 2016 10:25am

    But this is not a sudden closure, - it's a handover of contract back to NHSE to be tendered out. This happens almost daily with APMS contracts and the current tendering process is actually driving the price of the contracts up, as there are no takers for loss leaders.

    NHSE is actually working hard on preserving the GMS practices as they represent much better value for money.

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