Practice closure threat sparks fresh wave of GP protests

GPs, patients and campaigners in east London held a new protest yesterday against the threat to practices from MPIG funding cuts.

Save Our Surgeries: protesters fear GP funding cuts (Photo: Save Our Surgeries)
Save Our Surgeries: protesters fear GP funding cuts (Photo: Save Our Surgeries)

Supporters of the Save Our Surgeries (SOS) group, which organised a series of high profile demonstrations last summer, gathered near the Limehouse Practice, which partners say will be forced to close by 2016 because of 20% funding cuts.

GP reported exclusively in January on claims that NHS England used incorrect calculations when it excluded the practice from a financial support package for MPIG losers.

NHS England has since conceded that some of the calculations used for some practices were incorrect. Talks with BMA to resolve the dispute are ongoing.

GP protest support

Limehouse Practice manager Warwick Young told GP yesterday’s protest attracted an ‘excellent’ turnout from GPs and staff from practices across the Tower Hamlets borough.

‘Staff who had worked at the practice for over 30 years and longstanding patients spoke passionately about the importance of the of the surgery to the local community, and the devastating effect on the area if the practice was forced to close,' he said.

‘The battle continues to keep pressure on NHS England to review the calculation of eligibility criteria for the MPIG reprieve. They have admitted they have used incorrect assumptions and figures, and are recalculating the criteria based on actual figures this time around. We are waiting to hear from them with their revised calculations to see if we will actually meet the criteria, as our calculations have previously shown.’

GP funding losses

SOS campaigners published research last week that showed the borough, one of the UK’s most deprived, faces losses from general practice over £20m over seven years from various contract changes. 

Speaking ahead of the protest Limehouse Practice partner Dr Naureen Bhatti said that half of the eight partners were ‘hanging by a thread’ and would leave if the practice could not get bailout funds.

‘I don't think we we will be able to recruit other partners or afford a salaried doctor rate, which would attract people,' she said.

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