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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Scores more practices plan for closure as at-risk tally hits 109

Exclusive Around 30 practices in London alone are under threat of closing, as a Pulse investigation reveals that the number of practices across the UK considering their future has reached more than 100.

More local leaders have come forward in the wake of Pulse’s investigation earlier this month - which found that 60 practices across the UK were under threat of closure - warning they have ‘not seen anything like this’ in 20 years.

The GPC has warned that a ‘perfect storm’ has led to ‘more and more practices considering their options’, including the withdrawal of MPIG, PMS reviews and the recruitment crisis

London is the worst affected region, but local leaders in Northamptonshire and Devon have also come forward warning they both have six practices under threat, while Doncaster, Leicestershire, Sunderland and Sussex LMCs have all reported practices are considering handing back contracts.

Pulse asked LMC leaders across the country how many practices had contacted them regarding the possibility of closing.

A spokesperson for Londonwide LMCs said ‘current indications are around 28-30.’

Dr Tony Grewal, medical secretary of Londonwide LMCs, said that the capital was particularly badly affected by MPIG.

He said: ‘NHS England (London) have explicitly stated that no money is available to support practices severely affected by the withdrawing of MPIG payments. They have offered organisational support to practices from within existing resources.’

‘Londonwide [LMCs] have made a number of other suggestions for their consideration, including temporary bridging payments to practices… and we are waiting for their considered response.’

Pulse has reported that Jubilee Practice in Tower Hamlets, east London, has already put a ‘red button date’ in place, which may see them having to close.

Virginia Patania, practice manager, said that there was now a ‘very large campaign’ called Save Our Surgeries being led by the practice to highlight the potential of closures.

She said: ‘It’s something we are looking at in a way we have never look at before. Part of it is funding, part of it is recruitment. In Tower Hamlets a fair number of us, for a collection of reasons, would say our viability is severely limited over the next year or two.’

‘There’s definitely a view from NHS England that mergers are the way of the future. But you need to get to the future to consider this. No support has been given to practices in that transition.’

In Devon, LMC leader Dr Mark Sanford-Wood said: ‘In terms of closures, we haven’t seen any yet, but we have on our radar at least half a dozen practices we are very concerned about. It is highly likely that a good number will end up closing by the end of the year.’

‘I’ve been involved with the LMC for 20 years and I’ve never seen this before. For this to start happening now is significant.’

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, GPC negotiator, told Pulse: ‘I am certainly hearing anecdotally about more and more practices considering their options. It’s a perfect storm of problems. Some of that is the contract imposition from 2013, some is from funding swings as a result of MPIG redistribution.

‘That, along with spiralling workload and increasing demand… is having a catastrophic effect on practices and are struggling to cope.’

Pic credit: James Cridland

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Readers' comments (23)

  • The best option would be for all practices to hand a notice to LAT saying they are strongly considering quitting their contract 1 month before the next election.
    Due to GP shortage this maybe the best time to do so as even private sector would struggle to mop up general practice due to GP shortage.
    United we stand, divided we fall

    BMA hopefully gets some press coverage atleast. We for example would send out a txt to all our patients stating we are considering quitting due to political presures.
    COI: Not in closure list mentioned above but sympathetic/empathetic to same!

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  • Keep closing until there is no service in parts of the UK.

    Virgin and The secret double agents who have taken the DOH 30 pieces of silver - 'yes all those GPs in ivory tower politician owned, positions of power' - they know who they are; in their private GP owning companies - treat salaried colleagues like their personal slaves - can't take up all the slack if multiple surgeries close.

    Then the DOH will beg them to reopen their doors with extra funding once votes are at stake.

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  • No salaried GP can credibly complain of being 'treated like a personal slave' by a GP partner. If you feel that partners have it better, in terms of workload, risk and pay, then go and get a partnership. There are plenty of practices that will welcome you with open arms. You could try the 100 practices in this story for a start. If they fail it will be the partners who are left with a redundancy bill and a failed business, not you. Stop whingeing, grow a pair, and take on the responsibilities of partnership. You wouldn't last 5 minutes.

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  • How about a nationally (BMA) agreed red button day. Not a day for GPs to all resign, but a day when all practices that decide now is the time to close hand in their resignations together.

    Maybe so that the closing day was a couple of months before the election.

    I am not sure there are enough GP practices in that position to make a big enough statement - but there might be in pockets. Certainly if 30 GP practices in London all resigned on the same day, that would be impossible to handle. If 3 in my medium size town did the same it would be unmanageable .

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  • @7.53. You sound like a fair, balanced and supportive employer.

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  • The last comment may have to be our last resort. That would need the BMA's GPC to be convinced that it's what the majority of grass roots members want. I think we are still some way from that point but it's getting closer by the minute as the real picture of disaster for General Practice emerges across the country. There are still GPs who are burying their heads in the sand , wondering what their colleagues in London and eslewhere are making such a fuss about. Wake up!! There are also GPs who are so fed up and battered that they have disengaged. Our appeal is to these GPs to see that we do have a last chance for General Practice if we ALL act together and we act now. There are good reasons for us to engage in one last battle before this government destroys us and the fabulous service that GPs provide. We have the ear of every voter in the country and we have an election approaching. Use this connection to educate your patients. Lobby your MPs and local councillors. It can be done! No one wants a disaster to happen and I for one will be among those offering to resign en masse if they take this to the line.... Naomi Beer Jubilee St Practice

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  • Adapt or die.It may turn out to be a good thing for the tax payer allowing resources to be better used elsewhere.

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  • - there are over 10,000 practices in the Uk

    - 100 or so 'at risk' is not a lot (about 1%) and the patients are likely going to be absorbed by other practices.

    - now if 1000 to 2000 practices were at risk or practices moved to fully private then that would make interesting reading ...

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  • Everything about the NHS is reactive, never pro active. the simple fact is threats of closure will go unheard. When we get beyond the crisis point something may happen but patinets will suffer along the way. Dismantling the good parts of the NHS has always been easy. Rebuidling has not.

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  • Vinci Ho

    The interesting thing is :
    The 'collateral damage' could be the collapse of NHSE(London) as this tide is not just for us but to expose these bureaucrats as well.
    The price of apocalypse is more than these guys could imagine......

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