London council backs Save Our Surgeries campaign against MPIG cuts

London GPs have won the support of a major local authority in their campaign against funding cuts.

Save our Surgeries: protest wins support of Hackney councillors (Photo: Neil Roberts)
Save our Surgeries: protest wins support of Hackney councillors (Photo: Neil Roberts)

Doctors from the East London Save Our Surgeries group addressed a full meeting of Hackney borough council on Wednesday to ask for their support.

Ahead of the meeting GPs, patients and campaigners marched from London Fields Medical Centre to Hackney Town Hall carrying banners and chanting.

Dr Coral Jones, a GP at London Fields and honorary secretary of City and Hackney BMA told councillors that 10 practices across the borough faced combined losses of £8m over the seven-year MPIG withdrawal.

Twelve practices in Hackney, serving 100,000 people, have been identified as outliers at risk of closure.

Funding does not reflect need

Dr Jones said the redistribution of MPIG would ‘decrease funding to inner city practices so that all practices will end up with the same funding, irrespective of their patients’ needs’.

Hackney’s cabinet member for health, councillor Jonathan McShane, said the council and mayor would support the Save Our Surgeries campaign and the ruling Labour group would sign a pledge of support and write to the prime minister calling for a change in policy.

The MPIG withdrawal, said Mr McShane, was one of a series of decisions made by the government to reallocate resources away from deprived areas.

‘There is complete failure by this government to understand the unique challenges of delivering services in a borough like Hackney,' he said.

Support for campaign

‘So we will continue to support the campaign and encourage you to get in touch with me or the mayor if you feel there is any other way you can be supported,' he told GPs and supporters.

‘Good luck with the campaign...hopefully we can fight these changes and secure excellent GP services for the residents of Hackney.’

Earlier this month up to a thousand people joined protests organised by Save Our Surgeries across three east London boroughs.

Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott backed the protests, warning that 'more people will die’ if local practices close.

A DH spokeswoman said 'Patients should have access to high quality GP services, no matter where they live. The system needs to be fair so GP practices are paid fairly according to the number of patients and the services they deliver. 

'The MPIG was introduced in 2004 to support practices moving to a new GP contract. The NHS will be supporting the most affected practices to adjust as these payments are gradually phased out over seven years, and the money will be reinvested in general practice.'

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