This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Practices making contingency plans to cut staff over MPIG uncertainty

Practices are making plans to cut staff or reduce GPs’ hours because of the uncertainty surrounding the future of MPIG payments, with the GPC criticising NHS England for failing to begin talks.

The Government is cutting the income guarantee payments over the next seven years by 13% year-on-year, with the first cuts to take place in April, but NHS England has said that it will discuss ways of mitigating the effects on practices that depend heavily on the correction payments. However, with five months left until the first cuts are made, there has still been no moves to instigate talks.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul told Pulse he is concerned that NHS England has not set a timetable for discussions about the issue and that delays are ‘destabilising’ practices.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘We need to get this issue sorted out quickly. It’s very unsettling for practices, and the last thing we need to do is destabilise them. Practices need to know where they stand as they try to budget for the short and long term. We haven’t had any discussions on how outlier practices will be defined and how they will be assisted.’

Dr Karen Massey, a GP from Slaidburn Country Practice in Lancashire, helped collect 3,000 names on a petition in protest at the MPIG changes, which Ribble Valley Conservative MP Nigel Evans presented last month to NHS England national director for commissioning development Rosamond Roughton.

Dr Massey told Pulse: ‘We have no idea where we are going at the moment. I can’t make decisions about staffing hours and my income at the moment because we don’t know what will happen in April.’

‘We will lose about £14,000 in the first year of the MPIG phase-out. We can manage in the first year by cutting my income and staff hours, but if we lose the same amount the year after that there is a definite possibility we could shut.’

Dr Julian Fester, a GP in Whitby, said that his practice has a contingency plan for working without a receptionist next year. ‘As things stand we will be losing £1,000 a month from April, so we are thinking of not replacing the receptionist when she retires. I’m hopeful that NHS England will sort something out quickly. Otherwise we will run into serious cash flow problems.’

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘NHS England is committed to working with the GPC and other stakeholders on how to handle the very small number of outlier practices where MPIG payments make up a significant proportion of their income. This work is currently being taken forward and we will discuss this with the GPC shortly.’

Readers' comments (6)

  • Vinci Ho

    Am I right to say the track record of NHSE in dealing with GP funding so far does not give any optimism to practices?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • my ex practice was getting 70k correction factor because i was single handed and could not achieve qof near perfect without help of health care assistant ,data administrator, practice nurses hence i employed some and increase their hours of work. mpig will go but staff will still be there. practice will have problem unless they think on their feet to find ways of generating new income.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I seldom use an anonymous blog. I hope you will forgive me.
    This morning our bank manager phoned to say he was blocking partners' drawings this month, so without warning I have no income to pay my mortgage and bills.
    This is caused by the late payment of the flujab money on which we were relying.
    Thanks NHS England.
    I wish you all Happy Christmas. I will not be sending cards. For obvious reasons.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Thomas Craig

    This is good news for the 50% of practices that do not receive MPIG. Our practice never received MPIG and when it was reduced we benefited financially grately. Hence I look forwrd to MPIG being phased out.
    Practices that got MPIG had high expenses cost, which was mainly staff. Staff costs mushroomed further when the contract was introduced. Practices have to have a look at these costs, and take appropriate action, which was taken by others some years ago

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Small, rural and some very old Practices have a higher proportion of staff compared to larger ones. It will always be so. Smaller Practices will cease to be profitable. For example, our small practice has a profit per consultation of £ 2.60 take home. Larger practices may make £3.50 to 4, a huge increase when you multiply number of annual consultations.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Dear Dr Craig,
    I'm delighted that the possible closure of my practice and removal of an essential service from a deeply rural area is good news. Perhaps you could come and explain it to my patients as up till now they seem to think it would be disastrous.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say