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CCG steps in to support MPIG-threatened practices

Financially challenged MPIG practices have been offered a lifeline, after their CCG struck a deal to provide financial support for two years through new powers granted under co-commissioning.

Practices in Tower Hamlets, east London, have been campaigning for support to mitigate their losses from the withdrawal of MPIG since being told they did not meet NHS England’s criteria for financial support, with many warning they could close.

Now NHS Tower Hamlets CCG has said a new two-year funding deal will allow them scope to develop a more sustainable funding formula.

NHS England specified in September last year that just 15 practices would receive funding support because they were set to lose more £3 per patient – by NHS England’s calculations – and met NHS England’s criteria for support.

But MPIG practices in Tower Hamlets reviewed their own funding and potential losses and estimated they were set to lose far more without any support, which they attributed to NHS England’s miscalculations.

Jeremy Hunt even pledged to visit Limehouse Practice in Tower Hamlets to get to grip with the pressure they were operating under, but the risk that they would close before he could attend led to health minister Alistair Burt being sent instead.

Jane Milligan, chief officer at NHS Tower Hamlets CCG, said: ‘We are pleased to announce that together with NHS England we have a solution that ensures practices that are severely financially challenged have access to support for the next two years. During this interim arrangement NHS Tower Hamlets CCG will work with our stakeholders and GP practices to develop a primary care strategy that outlines a long-lasting solution to the challenges faced by primary care and the wider health economy.   

‘The long-term future for primary care is an exciting one. We will need a completely new approach to delivering primary care to ensure its sustainability, but we have an absolute commitment to deliver it.’

It follows a major campaign in the borough, Save Our Surgeries, that has highlighted the impact of the cuts.