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GP practice sets 'red button' closure date after losing MPIG funding

A GP practice in a deprived area of London could be the first to shut down due to the scrapping of the minimum practice income guarantee (MPIG), having set a ‘red button’ day when money will run out.

Patients in Stepney in east London could see their practice closed within a year, GPs at the Jubilee Street Practice in the borough of Tower Hamlets have warned, after they lost£219,508 in MPIG funding on 1 April.

Under the Government’s plans to gradually withdraw MPIG funding over seven years, the practice stands to lose the same amount off its funding every year for the next six years, however, GPs at the practice warned it would not last that long.

According to Dr Naomi Beer, senior GP partner at the practice, it is currently surviving by taking money out of its savings account, but they have had to set a ‘red button day’ for when the money runs out and they have to shut down.

She said: ‘One of the biggest financial hits for us is the Government’s decision to withdraw MPIG which means that our practice will lose £219,508 a year over the next seven years. The funding changes fail to consider the ethnicity or deprivation of an area, and are letting patients in underprivileged areas down. Many practices in the local area will also be in the same position to us.’

‘We are now eating into practice savings to continue providing a quality service, and we are planning for a “red button day” when we will have to close the practice. Partners have taken pay cuts to try and keep the practice afloat, but it’s not enough - our future is still uncertain.’

Earlier this year it was revealed that NHS England is leaving it entirely up to area teams whether to ensure the future of hundreds of practices by special measures, despite having originally said that at least around 100 outliers would be protected.

Meanwhile, GP leaders have repeatedly asked NHS England to step in to protect practices.

Commenting on the news, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘Despite working harder than ever before, GPs in London and across the UK are facing huge cuts in their basic funding. In some situations like Dr Beer’s, these cuts could force the practice to close.’

‘This crisis is pushing more GPs to consider retiring early while putting off young doctors from considering general practice as a career. GP morale is at an all time low, and at a time when we need increased funding to expand the GP workforce, the government’s response has been to cut funding paid to the majority of practices.’

‘We need urgent action to address this problem so that practices can continue to meet the growing needs of our patients.’

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Readers' comments (14)

  • How big is this practice? £1.5m in MPIG is an enormous sum of money (more than twice our total funding for 5000 patients).

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  • Just read the report in The Grauniad. It seems this practice has a total MPIG of £219,508 so it will stand to lose £31k per year, not as reported.

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  • Vinci Ho

    No matter what , this is reality. Believe it or not , rural practices are at risk as well. This is injustice while Darth Vader and Agent Hunt were boasting about the 50 millions well spent pilot(not even finished with results) for practices to open 8-8/7Ds , basic core funding to run practices for 5 days a week is substantially withdrawn.
    Think clearly ,people, before you support anything ......

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  • Let common sense prevail

    I totally agree with Vinci Ho. There is a further knock-on effect at local level, where CCG's are trying to incentivise GP's to take on a shift of work from secondary care. But now, any extra income will simply be used to shore up the practice, preventing redundancies and closure, rather than being invested in new services. So the net effect of CCG investment will be zero (or less) in terms of improving services/access etc.

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  • The wonderful thing for the government is that the closure will be spun as greedy GP's not willing to work for sweet FA and putting patients lives at risk by needlessly shutting up shop when they could easily fund it themselves out of efficiency savings.

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  • 3.24pm The first year they will lose £31k, the 2nd £62k , the 3rd £93k and so on until 2021 and beyond when they will lose the full £219k annually

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  • Sorry re above 3.24pm, just realised we're both trying to say the same thing!

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  • Vinci Ho

    For those SciFi fans , we have seen films over and over again where a devious government used scandalous means to bring along apocalypse because it believed the existing world was no good , so then it could restore new order.......
    Real life:
    China on Taiwan
    North on South Korea
    Perhaps Russia on Ukraine?
    Coalition on NHS????

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  • Took Early Retirement

    Indeed- as someone who has worked in a deprived area I am incensed that we have always had to work extra hard to hit our targets, but less deprived areas, especially if dispensing, do a lot less and earn more.

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  • John Glasspool | GP Partner

    Having worked in both deprived and so called well off areas I can promise you the targets and pressures are equally difficult. Where there may be social deprivation in the inner city there is social isolation and very limited community services in many semi rural locations.

    This shouldn't be about who has a tougher time.
    The basic fact is that the GMS contract does not cover the basic costs to run a GP practice. federation and magic words will not solve that.

    The only solution should be to make that clear to patients as we reduce service provision to meet the costs we are can afford. Stop with high minded ideas of providing for patients - unless you like the idea of bankruptcy!

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