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Practices plan further protest against MPIG cuts

A further protest against cuts to MPIG will take place in east London this Thursday, following on from successful action by the Save Our Surgeries (SOS) group.

In a statement on its website, the Limehouse Practice warned that it would be unsustainable to remain open by 2016 as the removal of the MPIG will translate to a 20% cut in their funding and NHS England has refused their application for a two-year reprieve.

SOS recently released research suggesting that general practice in the London borough of Tower Hamlets alone stands to lose £20.4m over the next seven years.

The Limehouse Practice is the latest in the borough to go public about financial difficulties, after the Jubilee Street Practice did the same in April last year, launching a series of marches, including one on Downing Street.

Following the protests, a package of ‘withdrawal support’ was made available to those practices due to suffer losses of more than £3 per patient per year as a result of the loss of MPIG.

NHS England originally estimated that Limehouse Practice would lose £2.80 per patient per year under the cuts, but the practice and campaign group say that it has miscalculated.

Local GPs said that many practices are facing closure or cutbacks in staff and services as a result of the financial pressures.

Dr Naureen Bhatti, a GP from the Limehouse Practice, said: ‘Our patients are telling us they don’t want to lose the GPs they trust. They don’t want further to travel. They don’t want to wait longer for an appointment and they don’t want to lose services.

‘We’re urging NHS England to stop these cuts, so that surgeries like ours don’t have to close. We want them to work with us to find a fair funding formula that takes the needs of areas like east London properly into account.’

Organisers said that the protest will gather at 2pm this Thursday, 19 March, at the traffic island where Burdett Road in E14 meets the A13.

Pulse launched its Stop Practice Closures campaign last year, and recent figures have revealed there has been a 500% annual increase in practices approaching NHS England about potentially closing or merging.