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Patients raise more than £30,000 in donations to keep their local GP practice

A rural practice has received more than £30,000 in donations to equip a new health centre, which is under construction with funds from a local patron, as part of a community drive to retain a village GP service.

The Hawkshead Patient Community Health Fund is within sight of its £35,000 target to kit out the medical centre being built in the village of Hawkshead in the Lake District National Park.

The registered charity was launched by the patient participation group at Hawkshead Medical Practice, which has fought a long-running battle to keep the GP practice open after its MPIG support was slashed in 2014.

The Community Health Fund said on its website that 'without access to these vital services our community becomes less sustainable', with services needed to ensure 'people can continue to live and work in the Central Lake District' and so that tourists too could continue to access services.

The GP practice, situated on the western edge of Lake Windermere, merged into the Central Lakes Medical Group with practices in nearby in Ambleside and Grasmere in 2016 in a bid to make the most of efficiencies from working at scale.

Being in the heart of the Lake District, the practices have large temporary resident populations which are not accounted for in the core funding formula and local property prices meant a new surgery was out of reach.

A local family, which runs several business ventures in the area, stepped in with the offer to construct a new building for the surgery to rent, and applied for planning permission in 2014.

The family will continue to own the building, and has accepted the going rent from the NHS, which has been valued by the district valuer.

Dr Jane Rimington, a GP partner at the practice, told Pulse that what the community had achieved was ‘incredible’, and came amid a lack of support from NHS managers.

She said: 'NHS England has not really supported this, although they had to approve it. The only financial support they were prepared to put in was the change in the IT costs.

’But we really had to fundraise for fixtures and fittings we are going to have.'

Dr Rimington added that the patient who had initially launched the building project had sadly passed away, but his family is maintaining the project because of its importantce to the community.

She told Pulse: ‘They have been in the village forever. And they own tourist businesses, they own farms, so they want the service to stay here and to have a community that people can live in.’

Dr Rimington said the new premises were 'a big improvement' on a current 'substandard' building and will also allow services like physiotherapy to have a base in the village.

She added: 'It’s unbelievable, just phenomenal amounts of money. Everyone’s chipping in, it’s ranged from pennies collected at school to some very big donations by individuals.

'Really this is their fundraising effort because they are desperate to keep a surgery presence in the village.’

Any donations left over from the health fund will be used to boost local public health, including healthy eating sessions at the local school, Dr Rimington added.

Readers' comments (10)

  • National Hopeless Service

    The NHS is turning into a charitable organisation.

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  • The future private co-payment/insurance system with charitable pro-bono work for those who cannot afford it.Just like the good ol US of A.Frightening ,but profits for the privateers which is what they want.

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  • Cobblers

    Still left with the unfunded TR work though.

    The cutting of the MPIG suggests that NHSE has not got a sympathetic ear to the problem.

    Whilst heartened by the public support it is in their own interests.

    You might wish to play hardball with NHSE on funding? Would you walk away now? Could you refuse TRs? (Send them to the 'local' ED?)

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  • I think that the patients have done very well and deserve a lot of credit.
    And the partners of the surgery have been appropriately grateful - it would be wrong to be anything other than grateful.

    But for the bigger picture this is totally counter productive. Healthcare should be paid for by taxation. If the funds are not appropriate to cover healthcare, then practices should close, which means people can reconsider their priorities when casting a vote.

    If health services are propped up by charities then the government will continue to wind down their own spending as much as they can.

    We have a charity at our surgery and the trustees (none are the GPs at the surgery) have a remit that they are not allowed to approve funding for anything the health service or GP partners should be paying for. Hospices have similar guidance for their own charities.

    Having said that for the actual fund raisers/ patients of this practice thank you and well done.

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  • This is nonsense, fund the NHS gp service properly and it will work as it has down so before, don't fund it and the service rightfully collapses, simples!

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  • My MPIG was slashed to half due to my colour in 2010 when I joined as a partner to take over. Two years later under a different pretext the rest was taken off.Total loss of about £49k. We increased a list by 1000 patients to improve finances; NHSE weighted the 1000 down to 650 patients to be paid for- left like donkeys carrying a load of unpaid for patients. So we applied to close the list. It fell by 7 patients but NHSE took offence and dropped the weightage by another 200 patients.
    NHSE is a criminal organization with mafia rule and either govt has lost control over it or is hand in glove with the criminals. My colour should not affect the care of my patients who are essentially white British.

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  • 8.27 AM-----Your mpig was slashed because of your colour?? rather strange claim. mpig is reduced yearly for rest of englang. weighted list as per carr-hill applies. it is stupid system but we all have no choice. nhs can't drop weighted list because they took offence.

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  • @1:12=In 2010? you're lucky you haven't been on their wrong side - the games people play can be overwhelming.

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  • Please let me know of any other Practice that had MPIG slashed in 2010. Would be very grateful to you.

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  • If any of this is spent on premises or equipment which the practice should fund then the money is going directly into the partners' pockets. I wonder whether the fundraisers understand this?

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