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NHS bosses U-turn after denying support to struggling practices

A local area team has been forced into review its policy of slapping automatic breach notices on practices who receive a rating of inadequate from the CQC, and denying them promised support as a result.

The London area team had stated any practice with a breach notice was ineligible for extra funding under the pilot programme NHS England runs with the RCGP, which recently extended to run until 31 December 2015.

However, Londonwide LMCs pointed out that the area team were wrongly issuing automatic breach notices to all practices rated inadequate, thereby denying them all financial support.

According to Londonwide LMCs, at least two practices were unfairly denied support after their inspection led to a CQC inadequate rating.

But since Londonwide LMCs raised the issue with the area team, Pulse discovered a letter from NHS England primary care commissioning lead Dr David Geddes that said: ‘Where a practice is served with a remedial or breach notice, this alone should not prevent a practice being eligible to be offered support from the pilot.’

Commenting on the note, Londonwide LMCs medical director Dr Tony Grewal said it ‘translates as NHS England (London) is being overenthusiastic in its response’.

He added: ‘We do have at least two examples of NHS England’s refusal to fund after issuing a breach notice. The letter makes it clear that neither type of breach notice automatically disbars a practice from support through the pilot.

‘If the guidance is followed, then we have a result and a reversal of current policy in some parts of London.’

A spokesperson for NHS England (London) said: ‘NHS England wishes to be fully supportive of its primary care providers. Where there is an ongoing contract, the contractor is accepting of the findings of the CQC report and wishes to improve, NHS England will consider support funding.

‘Any cases that were considered prior to David Geddes’ letter of the 22 June 2015, will be reviewed.’

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