LMCs condemn attacks on GP funding

Practices are being destabilised by the combined financial impact of MPIG withdrawal, practice funding, premises charges and pension changes, LMC leaders have warned.

Dr Jane Lothian: funding cuts hitting practices
Dr Jane Lothian: funding cuts hitting practices

A series of motions were passed on the second morning at the UK LMCs conference in London over changes in practice funding.

GPs voted to ‘deplore’ the destabilising effect of the phased withdrawal of MPIG correction factor payments which are being redistributed into global sum payments over a seven-year period from 2014.

Dr Steve Jones from Cambridgeshire said much of the variation in the correction factor was due to the number of staff employed by practices to carry out additional services not covered by the contract, and those staff and services were at risk if MPIG was scrapped.

‘The MPIG may in some cases account for most of, or all of the practice profits,' he said. ‘If the MPIG goes, in those practices there will be minimal or no drawings for partners.'

Delegates voted for the GPC to expedite a fairer funding formula that can be introduced before 2017, against the advice of GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul, who asked for the motion to be taken as a reference.

The motion called for a new formula to recognise the needs of the elderly, rural practices, and the needs associated with social deprivation.

Wessex LMCs chairman Dr Nigel Watson, who proposed the motion, described how demographic change meant more work for practices which was not reflected in the funding formula.

Dr Deborah Colvin from City and East London said socially deprived populations had more health problems and put more demands on practices. ‘The argument that patient ill health was not reflected in increasing workload does not stand up to scrutiny,' she said.

She said the was a ‘perverse situation’ where a healthy elderly person over 75 attracted more funding, while a sick young person with multimorbidties could die before reaching 75.

LMC representatives votes to condemn the failure if the government to implement the DDRB practice remuneration recommendation and demanding proper resourcing of general practice.

Dr Mark Corcoran of Avon LMC said the government’s decision to reject the funding recommendation was a ‘measure of how little they value our current system of general practice'.

He said it had been a ‘kick in the teeth, a stamp in the face, a poke in the eye, and a poke in the belly for GPs’.

He said the problem was less about the money than the message sent by increasing workload without increased resources.

‘We really need to get patients on our side,' he said, ‘because patients are starting to see that we are oppressed.'

A motion of concern over the threats to practices from the transfer of PCT owned premises to NHS Property Services, was passed mostly as a reference to GPC after negotiator Dr Peter Holden told delegates the situation was still fluid and there discussions continuing.

LMCs also hit out over premises funding. Dr Jane Lothian from Northumberland said while the move to NHS Property Services was an opportunity to formalise and put on a legal basis practices’ previous informal arrangements with PCT, some had been hit with large increases in charges of up to £17,000 in her area.

She said the problem could lead to loss of staff and practice capacity.

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