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Practices under threat of closure present case to councillors

East London GPs fighting to save their surgeries from the threat of closure will be presenting their case to local councillors this evening.

Dr Naomi Beer, one of the GPs at the Jubilee Street Practice in Tower Hamlets which is struggling with cuts to MPIG and shrinking QOF, will be leading a group of fellow GPs, community campaigners and patients in handing over a resolution asking councillors to support its campaign.

In all, 22 practices are calculating that they are at risk of having to close down because of GP funding swings in East London alone, and Pulse investigations have unveiled over 100 practices across the country that are at risk.

The motion to be handed to Tower Hamlets council is calling for it to seek ‘a guarantee that appropriate and sufficient funding will be secured from NHS England, or if necessary the secretary of state, to ensure not just the survival of GP practices in Tower Hamlets, but their ability to deliver the high quality services the borough needs in order to overcome the particular influences of deprivation, complexity of co-morbidity and language barriers’.

A campaign group spokesperson said: ‘The closures would leave thousands of patients without a GP and the remaining practices, already overstretched, would be unable to take them on. GPs predict their patients would be forced to turn to busy hospital accident and emergency departments instead. This comes amidst a climate of huge cuts to the whole of NHS funding and creeping privatisation of NHS services.’

The ‘Save Our Surgeries’ campaign was launched in May by GPs and patients in the east London boroughs of Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets. Participating practices are displaying large banners outside their surgeries to inform patients of the threat, and the campaign has gathered thousands of supporters joining in rallies across the boroughs.

As of this week, Pulse is campaigning for the Government to urgently step into offer financial support to GP practices at risk, as scores of patients across the country will otherwise face losing their local practice. To join in the calls now, begin by signing the e-petition.