How to campaign against funding cuts: Show what it means for patients
In the second of five articles, Dr Naomi Beer of the Jubilee Street Practice describes how to explain the threat to practice finance in terms of poorer care
At a meeting with the partners, discuss the findings from the forecasts among the partners and decide how you will proceed.
You will probably want to share the information with parties such as the LMC, NHS England, the LAT, patients, the GPC, local MPs and councillors, and journalists. But decide how much information you want to reveal to each one. If you want to see examples of letters we sent to patients.
At my practice we decided to be completely transparent, but you may decide to save the full picture for the LMC and NHS England, using just details or broad brush strokes for patients and the media. If you can be confident about your forecast and already have examples of how cuts have affected your patients, it may be prudent to be totally frank about the situation.
Prepare simple information explaining what cuts will mean for patients, focusing on access and services or clinics. Be specific about which services will be cut (for instance nursing home support or sexual health services) if possible. Attempt to strike a balance between engaging patients and shocking them. Be clear that the scenario is political and logistical, and has simple funding solutions that could keep the practice in business.
Connect with patients and ask if any of them would be willing to volunteer for the campaign. Ask patients if they have any skills they could lend (writing press releases, for example).
Dr Naomi Beer is a GP in Tower Hamlets, east London