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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GP practice at risk of closure visited by health minister

GPs at a practice threatened with imminent closure due to the withdrawal of MPIG have had face-to-face talks with health minister Alisdair Burt.

The hastily arranged ministerial visit last week comes days after Pulse reported the health secretary had promised to come to the practice, but it was likely to close before he could find time in his diary.

GPs from the Limehouse Practice said that they had left the health minister in ‘no doubt’ about the ‘high-quality and much-valued services’ provided by dedicated staff at the practice, but the minister did not make any promises of support during the visit.    

The practice says it is ‘just pennies’ over the amount of funding per patient that would qualify them for support from NHS England to help with the withdrawal of MPIG and this means they may have to close their doors by September, leaving 11,000 patients without a GP.

Dr Naureen Bhatti, a GP at the Limehouse Practice, said: ‘The Minister said several times that we’d made our case. But he stopped short of making any promises at all. That is very worrying news for our partners and patients.’

The surgery is serving in one of the country’s most deprived areas, and was supported by members of NHS Tower Hamlets CCG and the Save Our Surgeries campaign, the high-profile campaign that highlights the funding pressures on local practices in East London.  

Londonwide LMCs recently released survey data that showed one in ten GP practices in the capital is facing closure.

Readers' comments (12)

  • Look you need to understand the government really does not care. they have an agenda and you/we are not part of it. It is out of order this is happening but the GPC and BMA should be fighting your corner. Where are they? perhaps we should form our own union that actually looks after its members?

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  • why bother fighting it?

    i know you are going to feel guilty and feel you are letting your patients down but your health and your family are more important and if the public, media, leaders don't care - why should you? extract yourselves from the practice and RLEP.

    let the politicians clear up the mess they have created.

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  • Dr Bhatti, when will you open your eyes and accept reality? The government not only doesn't care, it actively wants you and all other partnership practices to close and it will get its way. The BMA has abandoned you, no-one will rescue you. Your choice is to close now and get out with some cash left or at least no personal liabilities, or keep your head in the sand and struggle on until personally bankrupt.

    A sane person would get out now, but GPs are too blind to take the sane course of action. :(

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  • Wonder if the public will care when they don't have access to a doctor ?

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  • I just wonder if United Health and other large health care providers have already set up remote GP training centres in Poland and elsewhere abroad. They could be presently recruiting foreign Doctors to work as UK GPs in our health centres once enough of us emigrate or retire. Many Doctors from elsewhere would work for £50,000 a year

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  • @9:57 that may be true but do other GPs work at such a fast decision making rate together with the significantly greater expectations/demands and risks of complaints and litigations.

    Also GPs in the UK deal with much more variety of patient care than elsewhere. Many European GPs work in different systems where they don't see young children, do smears etc etc

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  • "Anonymous | GP Partner | 08 July 2015 9:57am
    I just wonder if United Health and other large health care providers have already set up remote GP training centres in Poland and elsewhere abroad."

    There's no need to, there will still be lots of UK GPs desperate for work who will have to accept the £50k salary that UH, Virgin etc will offer. UH, Virgin etc have no intention of keeping the current GP:patient ratio, they will cut it by a huge amount, have just one big surgery per town instead of lots of little ones, and think that they are going staff it with mainly PAs, NPs, and just a few GPs. The Govt will be so desperate to get something else appearing to be in place in order to avoid bad publicity that UH, Virgin etc will be able to dictate their own contract and it will exclude all the politically inspired time-wasting clap-trap like named GPs, most enhanced services or the stupid bureaucracy that smothers them, and so on, thus freeing up the reduced number of GPs to actually just do clinics seeing patients instead of chasing the latest piece of excrement dreamt up by the secretary of state over his cornflakes this morning.
    You really think that Simon Stevens has had absolutely zero contact with his old chums at his former employer United Health since he became boss of NHS E?

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  • Dr Bhatti I can understand why you can get attached to a surgery. However, there's plenty of work out there.

    Walk away. Its better for the NHS in the long run, and its far better for your sanity.

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  • Anonymous | Practice Manager | 08 July 2015 11:01am

    You've summed it up beautifully!

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  • Funding differences between practices per patient. My practice [ in NI ] has an average income per patient of £58, my neighbouring friend 4 miles away gets £72.
    I asked why of BSO in Belfast. Historical, they say. So was slavery and women without votes.
    When old practices go down, they are taken over by hospitals.
    Did you not see in the news, they cost 25-30% more.? But that does not matter, it seems.
    If only they would increase funding slightly to struggling practices, they would be safe.
    But the DOH would rather spend more to other providers as give GPs one penny.
    It is shambolic, absurd and hugely unfair.
    But the UK NHS has always been thus.
    And it is not just GPs.
    The Vice-President of ED was in BA news review. Some ED have 1 consultant per 4000 patients, others 1 per 18000!!
    Just plain and utterly bonkers.

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