In a briefing obtained by GP, NHS England London region’s head of primary care Neil Roberts said there were a ‘number of options for financial support being considered’ for the hardest-hit practices.
Mr Roberts said in the document dated 7 July that discussions were due to conclude during the week ending 10 July.
‘The London region will shortly reach a view as to whether a short-term financial support arrangement and on what terms, should be made available,' he wrote to members of Hackney borough council in east London.
Funding formula flawed
In the briefing Mr Roberts acknowledged the Carr-Hill funding formula may not be ‘sufficiently sensitive’ to take into account some factors such as high patient turnover, high demand, and significant numbers of non-English speakers.
‘It could be argued,' he wrote, ‘Carr-Hill does not reflect the workload of London’s GPs in some areas.'
Partners at the threatened Jubilee Street Practice in Tower Hamlets, east London said in June that officials had suggested an enhanced service could be made available to practices that can demonstrate additional work above the core contract, to meet the challenges of deprivation. The additional funding could come from NHS England, with longer-term support from CCGs, the partners were told.
But last week, in response to a series of questions from GP about its support for MPIG practices, a spokeswoman for NHS England London denied it had discussed an enhanced service option with practices.
The spokeswoman said the region had not yet finalised proposals to support practices and was ‘continuing to develop our approach’.
Acnowledgement of financial support
The acknowledgement that financial support is being considered will be welcomed by campaigners as a shift by the London region which had been telling practices there was no additional funding available.
In December NHS England nationally handed responsibility for supporting practices to local area teams, telling local officials to make decisions on support within existing budgets by the end of January.
Further guidance issued in February said there was no guarantee that 98 outlier practices - those facing losses over £3 per patient - would receive support.
NHS England said there are four outliers in the City and Hackney area, but GPs have calculated 12 practices in Hackney face significant losses, with 10 practices facing combined cuts of £8m over seven years.
Last week Hackney council gave its backing to the GP-led east London Save Our Surgeries campaign which has organised a series of protests and rallies against the funding changes.