Save Our Surgeries campaigners promise new wave of action

Campaigners in the capital have promised a new wave of action to defend practices threatened by MPIG cuts.

Save our surgeries campaign: wave of protests
Save our surgeries campaign: wave of protests

The East London Save Our Surgeries (SOS) campaign has called a public meeting in Hackney later this month to build support for local practices affected.

SOS led a campaign over the spring and summer which saw hundreds of campaigners take to the streets in defence of practices facing closure because of the impact of MPIG withdrawal, and took GPs and supporters to the steps of Downing Street to lobby for a reversal of the cuts.

Campaigners say 22 practices in three east London boroughs are among the hardest hit by the withdrawal.

Only 17 practices won support

In August, NHS England eventually announced a two-year package of financial support for the 98 worst hit - those facing cuts over £3 per patient - but later admitted only 17 had been offered support under the tight criteria.

Hackney GP and honorary secretary of City and Hackney BMA Dr Coral Jones said: ‘NHS England saved a handful of surgeries – but only for two years. This is very bad news for patients in Hackney and the whole of east London. They face losing doctors they trust, having further to travel, waiting even longer for appointments and seeing services cut to basics.'

She added:  ‘What’s worse is we think this is the tip of the iceberg. GPs holding all three types of funding contract will be affected by major new cuts from next year. We’re inviting patients and the public to our meeting to find out what these cuts mean to their GP surgery. We can also explain what is happening nationally to our NHS – something we know is worrying many local residents.’

26 November meeting

The meeting on 26 November will take place at Lauriston Primary School, Hackney. Speakers will include Meg Hillier MP (Lab, Hackney South & Shoreditch), Dr Louise Irvine from the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign, retired Hackney GP Dr Mike Fitzpatrick, Tower Hamlets GP Dr Sally Hull and Virginia Patania from the Jubilee Street Practice, which ignited the campaign when it announced it would be forced to close if MPIG cuts went ahead.

SOS is calling for all changes to GP funding to be put on hold, pending the review of GP funding that is due to start in 2015. The campaigners say any new funding formula must take factors like deprivation into account, and that all practices should receive fair funding to meet the needs of their patients, whichever contract they are working to.

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