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GP commissioners cut CCG sessions to help plug financial black hole

A CCG in London has asked 25 GPs who are board members, clinical leads and cluster leads, to voluntarily reduce their paid sessions in a bid to make £3m savings, to prevent GP enhanced services being cut.

In a letter seen by Pulse, the NHS Newham CCG admits that it needs to save £3m between now and the end of the financial year in order to meet NHS England financial targets.

The CCG says that the deficit has been caused by NHS England’s insistence on holding a 1% (£6.5m) reserve and the rising acute spend.

One suggested scheme is that all ‘GP board members, clinical leads and cluster leads voluntarily agree to reduce their CCG sessions by 50% for four months starting on 1 December’.

The CCG states that for many GPs this will mean losing either a half or one session per week: ‘A reduction of one session would amount to approximately £170 and would I believe not represent an excessive burden at a very challenging time. As of 1 April we would resume normal payments.’

The letter also warns that if financial targets are not met then NHS Newham CCG Board would lose their decision-making powers and the CCG would be forced to cut discretionary funding.

It adds: ‘And in that scenario one of the first casualties is likely to be programmes such as Enhanced Primary Care Services (EPCS).’

In a statement to Pulse, NHS Newham CCG said: ‘There are 25 GPs affected as board members, clinical leads and cluster leads of the CCG. These 25 GPs will continue to work with the CCG by providing clinical input, but will be voluntarily reducing their paid sessions over the coming months to ensure the CCG achieves financial balance while continuing to do the best for the local population.

‘The voluntary reduction of sessions by this group of GPs will not impact on patient care directly or indirectly.’