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GP practices in one borough ‘to lose £20m over seven years’

GP campaigners are warning that practices in one London borough will lose £20.4m over the next seven years unless the formula for practice funding is changed to increase amounts for surgeries in deprived areas.

The Save Our Surgeries campaigners have told NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens that surgeries with good reputations – including The Limehouse Practice in Gill Street in the borough of Tower Hamlets – will be forced to close due to MPIG cuts.

They also warn that every surgery in the borough will have to make cuts to staffing and patient services.

It follows a long campaign by the group at the Jubilee Street Practice against MPIG cuts, including taking a signed petition to Downing Street, which won some concessions from NHS England on the pace of the cuts for 15 practices across England  

However, the campaign group says that the method for calculating who is eligible for this concession is flawed, and its own research shows that a number of other practices should be given financial support.

The campaigners made a presentation on the issues to Mr Stevens in January at a special meeting of Tower Hamlets CCG.

Maggie Falshaw, manager of The Limehouse Practice and chair of Save Our Surgeries, said that 70% of Tower Hamlets residents are in the most deprived national quintile and that people aged 50-69 from poorer areas consult their GP twice as often as people from richer areas.

About a third of the population in Tower Hamlets needs language support when accessing healthcare, and the borough’s primary care workload is around a third higher than current funding formulas allow for, she said.

She added: ‘GP surgeries in Tower Hamlets are on course to lose £20.4 million over the next seven years. Not tackling these problems will inevitably cut the number of GP appointments, sending more people to local A&Es, and harm patient care.

‘Save Our Surgeries is offering its research to NHS England and, in the interests of patients, we are arguing the case for a new funding formula that takes deprivation into account adequately.’

Last month, a similar campaign started in Sheffield, while Pulse is carrying out a campaign to Stop Practice Closures.