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At-risk practices still in the dark on funding solution from NHS England

Two London GP practices promised funding to help stay open in face of large MPIG losses are still waiting to see a funding proposal from NHS England, weeks after a deadline set out by a health minister.

Jubilee Street Practice and St Katharine Docks Practice in east London said NHS England had promised to send their proposals through by last week Friday or this week Monday at the latest, after having missed the first deadline of 21 July.

Both practices were promised that they would be receiving funding to ensure their viability in meetings with NHS England’s head of primary care commissioning Dr David Geddes in June, and the Jubilee Street Practice management team also got to meet with health minister Earl Howe, who set the July deadline.

Most recently the local area team told practices they would see the proposals by last week Friday or this week Monday but neither practice has received any update.

Jubilee Street practice manager Virginia Patania said: ‘[There has been] no news whatsoever from NHS England. We were assured we would receive their proposal by Friday of last week or Monday of this week at the latest, but have heard nothing. I have chased NHS England, as has St Katharine Docks Practice, and neither of us has received replies or even acknowledgements.’

She said it was her personal understanding that the delay has been caused by requiring sign-off from a national oversight group for supporting MPIG-reliant practices, and that a national solution will be presented in the form of an enhanced service.

However the NHS England London area team would not confirm this, as a spokesperson said: ‘We are still in the process of finalising our approach to supporting practices, and will update you in due course on this issue.’

Meanwhile a patient of the Jubilee Street Practice who has launched a legal bid against NHS England and health secretary Jeremy Hunt for failing to act in accordance with the Health and Social Care Act was also waiting for a response. Legally, the defendants have one more week to respond or the judicial review goes ahead.

Ms Patania said: ‘NHS England has until next week to reply, so we are hoping the solicitors and our patient will keep us in the loop when and if this is received. If they did not reply, the next step would be court.’

It comes as the campaign to save 22 east London practices at risk of having to close because of loss of funding took its campaign to 10 Downing Street this week, with Ms Patania handing over 20,000 signatures from supportive MPs, GP practice staff and patients for the attention of the prime minister.

Pulse has also laucnhed a campaign to Stop Practice Closuresin response to reports of an unprecented number of practice and list closures.