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At-risk practices across England to be given two-year funding reprieve by NHS managers

Exclusive Practices across England that have been particularly badly hit by the changes to the minimum practice income guarantee are to be given a two-year reprieve by local area teams, NHS England has told Pulse.

Earlier today, NHS England’s London area team announced that it was going to delay the withdrawal of MPIG for two years for the worst hit practices, following a campaign by practices in east London, led by the Jubilee Street Practice, who highlighted the possibility of closures

NHS England has confirmed to Pulse that this offer will be made by all local area teams to the practices identified as standing to lose the most if the plans to remove the whole of the funding over seven years, introduced as part of the contract imposition in 2013/14, were to go ahead.

Pulse had revealed that no local area team had committed any funding to practices in danger of closure, but the move by London - which is to be followed by other local area teams - reverses this policy.

GPs have however warned that NHS England will be carefully examining practice income before deciding on whether a practice will receive funding, and that the two-year reprieve remains a ‘sticking plaster’ to the main problem.

It comes as Pulse has launched its campaign to Stop Practice Closures after revealing that more than 100 practices across the UK had either closed or were actively considering closing, including as a result of the MPIG changes.

The statement from NHS England (London) said: ‘General practice is the bedrock of the NHS and has served patients well since its foundation, but we understand the pressures it faces in a growing and changing capital.’

‘We have today committed to providing extra financial support in 2014/15 and 2015/16 to a small number of GP practices in London that serve patients in more deprived areas and which are significantly affected by recent changes to the GP funding system.’

‘At the same time, we are working with leading GPs on a major programme to transform primary care services to better meet the needs of 21st century London.’

It added that the funding will be released to the practices - which are among the 98 identified by NHS England as those who stand to lose the most from the changes - in the autumn.

An NHS England spokesperson said that outlier practices serving deprived areas across England will be given the same or similar offer.

The spokesperson said: ‘Other area teams will be making a similar offer, so it will go out widely but they have got to meet the criteria [highlighted in the London offer].’

‘But it will be happening, it won’t happen now but it follows on that we will make those announcements in due course.’

‘Other area teams will be making a similar offer, or the same offer, if they [practices] meet the criteria.’

Virginia Patania, the practice manager at the Jubilee Street Practice, told Pulse that the practice is one of those that stands to benefit from the changes, but added that they still had concerns.

She said: ‘We appreciate NHS England’s efforts to re-align GP funding of deprived practices to their income prior to the new contractual changes.’

However, she pointed out that the package ‘does not unfortunately, outline the value of the package offered’. The practice is concerned that NHS England’s calculations will not match those of the practices.

Ms Patania also said that this funding package does not tackle the long-term problems.

She said: ‘The loss we incur will take place over the next seven years. This package will cover only the first two of these. With the losses getting worse year on year, we must have reassurance around the ongoing commitment to buffer these losses, as the funding support seems to expire once the losses become steeper.’

GPC deputy chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, told Pulse that NHS England was recognising that it’s funding cuts were having a ‘damaging’ impact on patients and practices, but said the small scale scheme scheme was just a ‘sticking plaster’.

He told Pulse: ‘I think while it’s welcome respite for those practices, it is only a short-term sticking plaster when what we really need is real and sustained investment to level up the funding for all practices. Not just a very small number who have been identified.’

‘I think the other thing to say is, this is just the first sign of NHS England actually acknowledging that their policy of imposing the damaging MPIG changes has actually harmed practices and patient services.’



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Readers' comments (15)

  • Two more years on Death Row then

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  • Strangely will take us beyond the election!

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  • Now this is breaking news!

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  • Let's face it NHS England is inept the original decision was flawed to phase out MPIG,the defunding of NHS primary care has only one outcome it is not rocket science it is going to collapse the tipping point is now and will gather pace affecting more than these 98 practices.The anti GP campaign led by the Mail and Telegraph has its source in the malign black heart of Jeremy Hunt and the DoH they will not carry a good news story about the NHS,the recent article blaming a locum GP for a Stevens-Johnson reaction to ibuprofen was wicked

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  • at least in the comments on facebook to that article(mentioned in the comment above) every member of the public said you cant blame the GP. Its the first time they seem to have been able to see through the anti GP propaganda.

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  • anonymous 713pm you are SPOT ON ; the root of all that is driving current toxic climate in GP is DOH driving the media (who are v friendly) remember LEVEES ON anyone???

    This" reprieve" is to stop the growing public voice aka LOndon Gps like the good DR Irvine. We need more people to stand as she is against what is right wing water boarding of a profession while we all just stand open mouthed and wait for our fate. WAKE UP GP LAND. WAKE UP RCGP WAKE UP BMA.

    There appears to be a very recent news story where a patient from an inner London Practice intends to take JH to the supreme or european court for human rights? I wonder if this recent quick response/backtrack has anything to do with this? If enough patients did this the government would be up @hit creek!!!

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  • Vinci Ho

    The fight and war goes on.
    If there is spinning , there will be anti-spinning......

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  • Leaving practices on life support is the worst possible outcome as it just makes the inevitable failure more protracted. If a service is not viable, it should be closed and patients go elsewhere. It is only by resisting short term accounting fudges that the government can be held accountable in 2015 and new resources can be brought into primary care.

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  • A reprieve ?

    I can't see them being able to recruit a new partner, should they need one.

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  • A bad result.
    As someone else pointed out above,, this means two more years on death row, conveniently until after the election, then funding cut and collapse.
    It's a delay, not a solution, how sad that GPs fall for it.

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