GP services for country's most vulnerable patients at risk, warns GPC

GP leaders have warned that thousands of England's most vulnerable patients risk losing their local practices because of funding cuts, as protesters marched on Downing Street.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul: at Save our Surgeries protest (Photo: Wilde Fry)
Dr Chaand Nagpaul: at Save our Surgeries protest (Photo: Wilde Fry)

Protesters from the east London Save our Surgeries campaign against funding cuts will deliver a petition signed by more than 20,000 people to 10 Downing Street on Wednesday.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey will join the protesters, amid BMA warnings that the government and NHS England must urgently address the threat to MPIG practices.

The BMA says MPIG funding is a ‘vital financial lifeline [that] provides additional support to practices in challenging circumstances, such as those serving large rural areas or practices looking after deprived and needy communities’.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘The BMA has been warning the government for well over a year that its decision to phase out MPIG would leave a number of practices in challenging circumstances at risk from closure.

Video: Dr Chaand Nagpaul speaks at Save our Surgeries protest

‘All GP practices are under real, sustained pressure from a combination of rising patient demand, declining funding and the government’s desire to move more care into the community. Given this climate, many of the practices that are funded by MPIG can ill-afford to lose this vital funding stream.’

Dr Nagpaul called for a ‘long-term, urgent solution’ to the funding crisis for practices hit hard by MPIG losses.

It was ‘unacceptable’ that east London practices in deprived areas such as Tower Hamlets faced the threat of closure, he warned.

‘The Tower Hamlets practices have to provide care to some of the most deprived areas in London where the population has significant health needs. They are likely to struggle to provide these services unless the government takes urgent action. We face the real prospect of some of the most vulnerable patients potentially being left without nearby access to GP services.’

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