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LMCs look to enhanced services to prop up QOF losers

By Steve Nowottny

LMC secretaries are writing to practices urging them to come forward if they believe they will be hit by the scrapping of square root formula.

The move comes as GP leaders prepare to negotiate local enhanced services to try to compensate the major losers.

In some areas university practices, which are expected to be among those hardest hit, have appealed for specific LESs to be set up to offset predicted losses of as much as £100,000. In Oxfordshire, where GPs face a net cumulative loss of about £600,000, practices expecting to heavily affected are calling for a new student LES, while in Bristol, GPs under threat have called for new funding in the form of a LES or ‘special QOF' to focus on areas such as eating disorders and depression.

Londonwide LMCs last week said it would like to see a standardised LES to support collaborative working brought in across the capital as one way of off-setting the losses.

But LMCs' attempts to help are being hamstrung by the Department of Health, which is refusing to publish its list of winners and losers despite a direct appeal from the GPC to do so. Practices have been told instead that they must work out their own losses using a calculator published by the BMA.

Dr Michelle Drage, joint chief executive of Londonwide LMCs, warned many practices would be unaware of how the changes would affect them.

‘They have issued a calculator … but we also know the Department knows the figures anyway. So I ask the question, why are they hiding and what are they hiding?'

‘I worry that what they're hiding might be something of the order of tens of thousands of pounds per practice… and why they're hiding is they fear a reaction on the scale of what happened in 2003 on Black Wednesday.'

Dr Peter Graves, chief executive of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire LMC, said:

‘All of my practices are down and some of them are going to be down by up to 2% of NHS income because of the change in QOF prevalence.'

Dr Michelle Drage: wants to know what information the DH is hiding Dr Michelle Drage: wants to know what information the DH is hiding

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