Impact of MPIG cuts on GP services not assessed, says minister

NHS England has made no assessment of whether the withdrawal of MPIG could force practices to reduce services, according to a government health minister.

Dr Dan Poulter: no assessment of whether GP services would be reduced (Photo: DH)
Dr Dan Poulter: no assessment of whether GP services would be reduced (Photo: DH)

Responding to a question from Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert, health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: 'Since April 2013, NHS England has been responsible for ensuring the provision of primary care services in England. NHS England is not aware of any that have closed as a result of the withdrawal of the MPIG and has not estimated whether any will have to reduce services.'

GP leaders said NHS England had not assessed whether services would be reduced because this was an inevitable effect of scrapping MPIG.

From 2014/15, MPIG funding for GP practices began to be redistributed under a seven-year government plan to abolish the top-up payments.

The BMA has warned that the worst-affected practices could become unviable as MPIG correction factor payments - awarded to practices that would otherwise have lost out financially as the 2004 new GMS contract was adopted - are redistributed via the Carr-Hill funding formula.

MPIG outlier support

NHS England has offered support to a handful of 98 'outlier' practices that are at risk because they face losses of more than £3 per weighted patient per year under the changes.

But NHS England said last year that almost 2,000 of the 4,500-plus GMS practices in England would lose out financially as MPIG was reduced.

The BMA says many practices outside the worst-hit outliers will be severely affected. GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said NHS England had not assessed whether removing MPIG would reduce services 'because they know that it would'.

'It will reduce services,' he told GP. 'We have said that from the beginning - it will have a big impact on service provision. if there are cuts in funding practices won't be able to continue to deliver the services they currently deliver.'

GP practice funding

On Thursday, the DH published data for the first time on GP funding at practice level, revealing wide variations between CCG areas in the average level of funding per patient that practices receive.

The data showed that in 2013/14 64% of GMS practices in England received MPIG correction factor payments, ranging from £602,828 to £48.

NHS England did not respond to a request for comment.

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