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GP practices could fail as result of ‘drastic’ PMS cuts, warns LMC

A number of GP practices in Birmingham could see their viability threatened as a result of ‘drastic’ cuts to their PMS contract funding, the LMC has warned.

Birmingham LMC said patients in deprived areas would suffer from the funding cuts, which affect services for the homeless, vulnerable migrants and people with learning difficulties at 15 GP practices in the city. 

Birmingham LMC executive secretary Dr Robert Morley said: ‘These drastic cuts will inevitably will lead to a reduction in the range and quality of services to patients in these practices, which serve some of the most deprived and vulnerable parts of Birmingham and will be detrimental to the enhanced standards of care these practices have been able to deliver through this additional investment.’

NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG did not provide an overall figure for the funding cuts, claiming this was ‘commercially sensitive’ but the LMC said that to individual practices ‘the scale of some of these cuts is so great that inevitably, bearing in mind the other huge challenges that practices are facing, there may be a significant risk to the viability of some practices’.

The CCG said that 15 out of its 169 member practices have had ‘historical’ PMS contracts ‘with funding for a range of additional services for their patients only’. 

A spokesperson said: ‘This causes an inequity, because these services are not available across Birmingham and Solihull.’

The CCG said practices ‘were supported to set out a case for continued funding for these additional services’, which were considered by the CCG’s primary care commissioning committee last month.

‘In some cases, practices are being paid more than once; this is not a good use of NHS money. In line with national guidance, we gave practices over 12 months’ notice that these arrangements would cease at the end of March 2020,’ the CCG spokesperson said.

But Dr Morley said: ‘Whilst Birmingham LMC passionately advocates equity of resources for all our practices and their patients, this should be achieved by levelling up funding to ensure that all practices are fully resourced to provide the quality of care their patients need and deserve, not by bringing in wholesale funding cuts which will massively destabilise a number of practices struggling to provide the best possible quality of care under the most challenging of circumstances.’