Editorial: Collaboration is key to protect income

The combination of the PMS contract overhaul and the MPIG phase-out, with details of both being released in recent weeks, could be devastating for GP practices.

On page 6 of this issue we look at the worst-case scenario for general practice, while on pages 30 and 31, we analyse what the latest developments mean for your practice.

Practices wanting to minimise income losses could also consider subscribing to our sister site Medeconomics (medeconomics.co.uk), which specialises in this.

Practices hit hardest by the removal of MPIG could face average losses of about £300,000 over the next seven years and are still not guaranteed any support to cope with the losses.

Meanwhile, the PMS contract overhaul set out by NHS England could strip £235m from general practice, GP leaders fear.

This general practice double whammy could be the final knockout blows to practices whose viability was already threatened by the income freezes and expenses rises of recent years.

How might general practice counter such threats? Look no further than our exclusive interview with Londonwide LMCs' chief executive Dr Michelle Drage (page 28).

Dr Drage suggests GPs doing it for themselves and reshaping services around the needs of their patients. It's a message for London practices, but could be equally applicable across the UK.

She urges GPs to collaborate to demonstrate the case for commissioners to begin shifting resources from hospitals to the community. In practical terms, this could mean neighbouring groups of two or three practices working together to see how their populations' needs could be better met.

Dr Drage's calls for a greater proportion of the NHS budget to be spent in primary care at a time when there is consensus that care must be moved from hospitals builds on calls made by the RCGP.

It is exactly this sort of positive attitude and collaborative working that could convince CCGs to increase their spending on primary care and save the huge amounts of funding unlocked by the PMS review from being lost to general practice.

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