BMA to meet NHS officials for urgent talks over MPIG errors

GP leaders have called an urgent meeting with NHS England after the London region admitted using incorrect data to calculate practices' MPIG losses and fears that some practices were wrongly denied a bailout.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul: talks over MPIG rethink (Photo: Pete Hill)
Dr Chaand Nagpaul: talks over MPIG rethink (Photo: Pete Hill)

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said he was concerned that some practices may have been denied the support they need and now face a ‘financial cliff edge’.

Officials are understood to be considering options including a possible recalculation of all practice losses after chief executive Simon Stevens intervened in the row.

GP reported exclusively that NHS England London region had admitted using incorrect data when calculating the losses some practices face from MPIG withdrawal and other GMS funding changes from 2014/15.

MPIG financial support

A financial support package was agreed in August 2014 after protests against the effects of the cuts, which threatened to close the hardest-hit practices.

The support package provides funding to replace the MPIG correction factor for two years for some of the so-called outlier practices facing losses over £3 per patient in deprived areas.

But just 17 of 98 identified outliers were initially offered support. GP investigations have revealed that, by January, of 11 offers made in London just six had been finalised. Outside of London 10 offers of support had been agreed, but none had been signed.

NHS England London admitted to GP that it used incorrect figures for two practices. Officials have told Albion Health Centre in Tower Hamlets it should have received a bailout, despite initially rejecting its claim. The practice continues to dispute official’s calculations.

Limehouse practice, in east London, also claims officials used incorrect data. Its case is under review.

Practices denied support

Questions over NHS England’s calculations could mean many more practices should have been classed as outliers or offered a bailout.

NHS England officials are understood to be considering a range of solutions including the possible revaluation of all practices’ losses after meeting GPs last month following intervention by chief executive Simon Stevens

The BMA said the eligibility criteria for the support package have not been explained clearly and there has not been enough transparency around calculations.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘The GPC has warned from the outset about the devastating impact of rapid MPIG withdrawal on patient services.

‘NHS England had previously agreed to our call to provide support to "outlying" practices identified as the greatest losers in this process and we expect them to honour their commitment. We are deeply concerned at reports, such as in Tower Hamlets, of practices being unclear about their eligibility and the accuracy of data being used to calculate losses. This could be denying practices the crucial support they need.’

Jubilee Street Practice manager and Save Our Surgeries campaigner Virginia Patania added: ‘We regret that our initial meetings with NHS England have not yet produced a solution to address MPIG losses, but are reassured by NHS England’s ongoing efforts to work with general practice and our representative bodies.

‘Our evidence is clear: we want proper data to be used when the funding is calculated for practices that are likely to be badly affected by these changes. We hope for a speedy solution such that practices currently at risk of closure or redundancies can be helped while there is still time. BMA support gives us greater confidence that, almost one year into this campaign, we are nearing a solution.’

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