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Dr Grant Ingrams: ‘The CCG is taking money from general practice to put into hospital’

The CCG has had extra, unexpected activity within the A&E department at our local hospital and they therefore told us that there was less money available for the £5 per head of population, that they wouldn’t do that.

My understanding was that this money was supposed to go to general practice for providing care for over 75s.

In this case they have said ‘we are going to spend the money elsewhere therefore don’t even bother putting in your applications’.

My view is that the CCG is being very short sighted. They have opted not to invest in general practice being able to care for vulnerable elderly patients, which can lead to increased pressure on the hospital in future. To say that we are going to take that money out, which may have actually started to turn that tide of patients going into hospital around, in order to shore up secondary care is in my mind very short sighted.

The worrying, sad thing is that local GPs are just not surprised that money, despite being part of a national initiative, are being taken away to be put into secondary care again.

Although GPs are really angry – there was an open meeting held where there was quite palpable feelings of anger – they are really just wondering what on earth is going on, when the CCG is taking money from general practice to put into hospital, which is really the reverse of what they were designed to do.

It is a missed opportunity by the CCG to improve services for the over 75s. It is the population that will suffer because of it. What effect it may have is on recruitment of GPs into Coventry. I mean, if you are looking for a job and you have got one area where the CCG is investing in developing and improving primary care and general practice, and then you’ve got areas like Coventry which aren’t, where are you going to work?

We know there is no point raising this issue with the CCG again for this year. There is no point, the money is taken. But I think that the CCG has been given a very strong message from its membership that we don’t expect to see such things again, so I hope that they will listen. It is supposedly a membership organisation.

Dr Grant Ingrams is vice-chair of Coventry LMC and a member of the GPC