MPIG inaction huge threat to GP services, GPC warns NHS chief

GP leaders have slammed NHS England's inaction over the threat of service cuts and risk of closure faced by practices heavily affected by the withdrawal of MPIG funding.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul: letter to NHS chief executive over MPIG (Photo: JH Lancy)
Dr Chaand Nagpaul: letter to NHS chief executive over MPIG (Photo: JH Lancy)

As LMC representatives from across the UK gather in York for their annual conference, GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul wrote to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens warning of an ‘imminent threat to services’ and the risk of practice closures.

The GPC has said 98 'outlier' practices - those set to lose over £3 per patient per year as MPIG is withdrawn over seven years - are under threat of closure and hundreds of practices face major financial problems.

A GP survey of NHS England area teams responsible for dealing with the effects of the cuts on practices last month revealed few, if any, have agreed assistance for practices.

LMC conference to begin

About 65% of GMS practices in England benefit from MPIG top-ups to core funding. A total of 40% of England’s GMS practices – nearly 2,000 in total – face losses over the next seven years from the redistribution of correction factor payments.

The average loss for the 98 outlier practices is £7.41 per weighted patient per year. Over the seven-year MPIG withdrawal, these practices face an average loss of £162,923.

Advice issued by NHS England to area teams suggested smaller practices could be merged, federated, made more efficient through cost cutting, or helped via other contracting and commissioning solutions.

NHS England's area teams have been told the list of outliers was only a guide and there was no guarantee all practices on the list will receive support.

In his letter to Mr Stevens, Dr Nagpaul said: ‘I am writing to express my concern at NHS England’s handling of the process for phasing out MPIG correction factor payments to GP practices, which has become a critical issue for our members. I believe that this poses a serious risk to the delivery of services to patients.'

Warning over inaction

He added: ‘We warned about the inaction that would result from NHS England leaving decisions about how to deal with adversely affected practices to area teams. These fears have unfortunately been realised.

‘There has been no sense whatsoever of area teams proactively attempting to find solutions to the funding problems faced by these practices. Indeed, we have been contacted by a number of practices, both in and outside of the 98 identified outlier practices, who have been informed by their area teams that they are not able to provide such support, either due to funding problems or a lack of central direction.

‘If this situation is allowed to continue there will be a real and imminent threat to services provided to patients, with some practices at risk of closure.’

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