Minister accused of complacency over MPIG practices facing closure

MPs accused a health minister of complacency as he refused to guarantee that no practice would be forced to close by the removal of MPIG funding.

Parliament: minister accused of MPIG complacency (Photo: Ian Bottle)
Parliament: minister accused of MPIG complacency (Photo: Ian Bottle)

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter told the House of Commons that the government was determined to make sure there was ‘equality of finance per patient according to need’.

Dr Poulter urged practices to cut costs by sharing back-office functions and said MPIG was ‘unfair because practices serving very similar populations are paid very different amounts’.

Labour MP for Sheffield Central Paul Blomfield told Mr Poulter that MPIG payments had been introduced to meet the specific needs of specific practices. ‘Those needs have not changed,’ he added.

No MPIG guarantee

Asked to give a guarantee that no practice would be forced to close by the withdrawal of MPIG, Mr Poulter said: ‘The point is this: the funding system set up by the previous government was based on historical funding and did not necessarily recognise the needs of patients. That was unfair; we have changed it.’

The health minister said NHS England was working locally with practices hit hard by the removal of MPIG.

GP reported this week that the Jubilee St practice in east London, which faces a near £1m loss over seven years, had been offered possible enhanced services support to mitigate MPIG losses, but would still face a funding cut.

Anne McIntosh MP (Con, Denton and Reddish) warned that some rural practices would become unviable without MPIG funding, asking if the government would ‘address that issue’.

Mr Poulter was accused of a ‘complacent’ response, after replying that moving more funding into global sums would help rural practices because rurality was factored into the global sum calculation.

Free GMS financial forecast

Medeconomics has teamed up with specialist medical accountants to produce individual forecasts of practice financial performance as the MPIG is phased out.

View a sample report here

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