This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

CAMHS won't see you now

GP practices set for £1m emergency assistance fund from NHS board

Exclusive An NHS board is considering plans to allocate a £1m ‘emergency assistance’ fund for GP practices after it emerged one in six local practices had closed its list.

A committee of the NHS Lothian board reported that 20 out of 127 practices had reported closed lists, and pushed for the board to allocate the funding to pay for new GPs, help retain current GPs and upgrade services.

NHS Lothian told Pulse that it was ‘finalising the details’ of an emergency package for practices.

It comes as Pulse is running its Stop Practice Closures campaign calling for emergency funding for practices who are most in need.

The NHS Lothian potential funding follows lobbying by a group of health professionals in the area, the Edinburgh Community Health Partnership (CHP), who called for the board to provide the money to help several practices who do not have enough GPs to meet patient demand.

A report by the CHP sub-committee contained in NHS Lothian board papers for a meeting last week, ‘not[ed] the need for an additional £1 million funding for primary care’.

It added: ‘Work is underway to stabilise a number of practices due to issues around GP recruitment, locum availability, an ageing workforce and difficulty in attracting GP partnerships. District nursing and health visiting are facing similar workforce issues and ongoing difficulties with IT performance are also having an impact.

‘It has been highlighted that the model of primary care has not changed for 20 years. We are currently in a very challenging position with 20 practices in Edinburgh reporting closed lists.’

The CHP said it has ‘extreme concern over a number of GP practices being unable to continue to provide services.

An NHS Lothian spokesperson said: ‘The allocation of funding is still at a very early stage and specific recipients and schemes have not yet been identified. Details are being finalised and are subject to discussion with partner organisations.’

NHS Lothian said it had to take over the running of two practices this year, but Lothian LMC chair Dr Catriona Morton said that this figure was likely to rise.  

One practice – Links Medical Centre in Edinburgh – has remained open only through apportioning 2,000 of its patients last spring to other practices, after it was unable to replace GPs who left.

Dr Morton explained: ‘One million pounds is a realistic amount for an emergency fund. We can’t afford to lose practices in Edinburgh. NHS Lothian has to support practices in major difficulties. Practices are operating in areas of expanding populations, and so capacity has reached saturation point. Well over 20 practices have restrictions about how many people they will register.’

In England, health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced in his ‘new deal’ speech that struggling practices would receive £10m to support them, but it later emerged that this would only apply to practices put in special measures by the CQC.

Readers' comments (18)

  • The irony is that if my Practice had the same level of funding as others with similar number of patients, I would had happily taken on a second salaried or partner and increased the list size by a 1000 patients. Strange are the ways things work.
    Still struggling to find out why my Practice has two National Codes and why Rurality Total Payment Units are being disregarded.
    Two National codes is like having 2 National Insurance numbers. Wonder whether that would be possible with HMRC vigilance.
    HSCIS has sent my request to look into this back to the PCA who in the past have been questioned by me about serious underfunding of the Practice but always explained 'it's historical'. Nobody in England knows who's pulling the strings, or is it gross incompetency...corruption???

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • @sanjeev juneja

    I had exactly the same nonsense when I was a partner in the uk. A practice next door to mine, literally separated by a brick wall used to receive more funding than mine with a very similar demographic- I spent months trying to figure out why and in the end was told the same thing, "it's historic"!! Those were the exact words they used!! Unbelievable !! So just because an injustice has been perpetuated in the past lets carry it on because it's historic!!!
    The stupidity and ineptitude of the imbeciles that run this S$&t show is beyond belief.

    I used to bang my head against the bloody wall trying to figure things out over there with their crappy formula and funding patterns.

    Thank The Lord I saw the light and bloody emigrated!!!

    I'll leave you to your war of attrition and wish you the very best of luck, your a better man than me if you can carry on with your faculties preserved!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 2:17am - "it's historic"!!

    The imbeciles that run the S$&t show are applying the contract that we all welcomed in 2004. I'm guessing that a failure to apply that contract would lead to your neighbouring practice taking legal action.

    Until the contract changed we were all stuck with it. The phasing out of correction factors and PMS premiums is an imperfect solution but, provided that the money is reinvested into general practice, it should lead to greater equality.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • In the unlikely event that this money is given directly to practices, it works out at £1.18 per patient.....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • @ Billy Sanghera; History is fine but when PCA says they have no understanding or explanation and refer you to HSCIC and the latter sends you back to PCAs because it's not their job, you do begin to wonder whose job it is and who is pulling strings.
    Either both agencies have people who are not up to the job and need to look at their qualifications or you wonder whether there is deliberate mischief and thus the stance- it's not my job!
    Whatever, said and done, the Exeter statements calculate Rurality payment units for a purpose and payments should be made accordingly. If they shouldn't, then why calcluate this and put it on your statmements and also why do some Practices get paid ?? I'll leave this for Managers to decide.

    BTW, two years ago when we noticed that mileage from Surgery was not being coded for our patients- and there are 924 living beyond 3 miles- we began to put it manually. Within hours, we had a phone call from PCA not to do this. We persisted because we were aware of payments linked to distance from Surgery. The PCA official rejected our mileage for a few days daily and then gave up as we did not relent. We wonder - whether this was the only person in the whole of HSCIC and PCA who was aware of what has gone wrong with our Practice payments while the rest profess not to have a clue.
    How many other Surgeries have not even analyzed this aspect of payments?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Just wait till Capita rewrite the system Sanjeev Juneja, then you will have something to complain about. We GPs have a few years to get out.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 6:52: thanks for cheering me up. I am sure I then won't be in a position to understand that little which I still find comprehensible!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Just heard 120k needed to stay afloat with pms cuts and low earning
    Highly rated and 5555 patients
    We need stability but will have to sack our salaried lady doctor and nurse

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page

Have your say