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​#GPnews: Patients consulted on new GP branch practice closure

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16:15 A GP practice in Leicester is consulting patients on plans to close its branch surgery.

In a letter to patients, plans were outlined to close the Narborough Health Centre GP surgery in Thornton Drive on 31 March 2018.

The CCG said patients will have the choice of remaining registered with the senior doctor at the surgery, but would need to travel to the Narborough Road site for treatment, or they can choose to register at a new GP practice.

The letter said: ‘Patients do not have to choose a practice in the Narborough area but need to live within the boundary of their preferred practice. Help in finding and registering with a new practice will be available from [NHS] East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG.’

13:45 Also from the BBC, a new rapid test for meningitis will be rolled out for use in a Northern Irish A&E department.

According to researchers, the test that the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children will begin using will give results in just 60 minutes.

They say this will mean doctors do not need to initiate antibiotics ‘just in case’ and help avoid rare occasions where doctors miss cases.

The Lamp (Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification) test can be carried out using a blood sample, spinal fluid or nasal swab. 

12:10 A report from the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI) has warned that the NHS is ‘leaking’ money to private companies as a result of Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts, writes the BBC.

The controversial contracts have seen companies provide the NHS with new money to build hospitals in return for annual fees. The centre’s investigatoin, based on 107 PFI contracts in England, found companies involved in such contracts had made pre-tax profits of £831m in the past six years.

In defence, the Department of Health said that the cost of PFI contracts was less than 3% of the NHS budget but CHPI, which says the money could have been spent on patients, is calling for caps on profit to be made from PFI and higher taxation on related profit.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: ‘NHS providers and commissioners are being pushed to breaking point because of unprecedented financial pressures so it is outrageous to see over £800m of much needed money being leaked out to private companies for profit alone.

‘Private Finance Initiatives are an extortionate drain on the public purse, with private companies scandalously gaining at the expense of taxpayers and patients. The government should instead be properly funding new NHS capital projects to ensure money remains in the NHS in the long term.

‘Ideally the government would either renegotiate lucrative PFI contracts or enable existing PFI schemes to be bought out by the NHS so that vital resources are available for frontline patient care.’

Dr Nagpaul added that more broadly there was ‘a trend is emerging’ for independent provision of NHS healthcare to increase, ‘every year for the past five years’.

He said: ‘More attention needs to be paid to whether it provides value for money, comparable quality and safety to NHS patients, as well as what its impact is on other NHS services.’

09:40 As we reveal this morning, NHS commissioners are spending millions of pounds to receive advice on how to cut the costs of running the health service.

The money spent, revealed via an FOI to local areas found the Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs), was described by GP leaders as ‘eye watering’ and ‘difficult to justify’.

Read the full coverage here

But most of the national papers are focusing on Pulse’s top story from yesterday: that GP referrals to hospital are set to be peer reviewed.

The story has been picked up this morning across the Guardian, the Times and the Sun, and is splashed across the front page of the Daily Mail.

Read the full story here