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Secret list of surgeries set to lose out under QOF changes

By Gareth Iacobucci

Exclusive: The Government has drawn up a secret list of GP practices most under threat from the changes to the way QOF pay is calculated but plans to keep GPs in the dark, Pulse can reveal.

The Department of Health this week admitted it had drawn up a detailed list of individual practices that stand to gain or lose from the scrapping of the square root formula.

But it said it would not be informing practices whether they were winners or losers, insisting it was up to practices to identify themselves to PCTs if they believed they were under threat.

A DH spokesperson said: ‘We cannot give the full set of figures as it could identify individual practices.

‘The guidance agreed between the negotiating parties is that practices should identify themselves to PCTs if they consider themselves likely to suffer significant losses.'

Despite insisting it would encourage PCTs to ‘work with practices' facing big losses, the DH also refused to guarantee practices would receive financial support, amid fears trusts may not be able to commit resources in the face of big deficits.

LMC leaders last week demanded a guarantee that no practice would be allowed to ‘go bust' because of huge losses caused by the scrapping of the square root formula.

It came after figures published by the BMA showed a total of 140 practices across the UK stand to lose as much as £30,000, with 33 facing more severe losses of more than £50,000, and a handful standing to lose more than 100,000 a year by April 2010.

But the DH spokesperson added: ‘This is not about compensating practices for income loss – it is about examining services needed by patients and deciding whether there is a genuine need for an enhanced service. It is possible for PCTs to agree local contracts to meet local population needs that are not covered by national QOF – but the question PCTs need to address is whether there is a patient need for the service.'

The BMA said it would not be releasing full details of the practices under threat because of ‘data protection issues', but urged LMCs to contact their PCTs to find out which practices in their area were affected.

Dr Dominique Thompson, a GP in Bristol, said her university practice was still in the dark over how much it would lose, but it was likely to be ‘one of the worst hit in the UK'.

She said: ‘If our practice folds, that would be disastrous for young people in Bristol.'

Dr Dominique Thompson: likely to be 'one of worst hit in the UK' Dr Dominique Thompson: likely to be 'one of worst hit in the UK'

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