GPs in new warning on practice funding cutbacks

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Patient care is under “imminent threat” due to a lack of action by NHS chiefs over major changes to family practice funding, GP leaders claim today.

In a letter to Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, the leader of the country’s GPs raises concerns over the lack of support given to practices affected by the decision to scrap a minimum price income guarantee (MPIG).

The cash guarantees a minimum level of funding to practices which is not dependent on the number of patients on their lists. Some 98 practices have been identified as losing most, prompting warnings patients in rural parts could be left without a GP if their local surgery becomes unviable.

Small rural surgeries in parts of Yorkshire are among those hit by the funding cut but the bulk of the practices are in urban areas among them Sheffield.

GP leaders say NHS England had assured doctors measures would be put in place to support those practices worst affected but they say there is little evidence of support.

Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners’ Committee, said local NHS teams had been left to deal with the problems but many had failed to offer support.

“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,” he said.

One GP to raise concerns is Steve Kite, who works in Hertfordshire, and is warning his practice faces a funding cut of up to £62,000.

He said: “The removal of MPIG means that I will simply not be able to employ enough staff, deliver suitable services or keep my building in the right state for patients. There is not a national plan of any form to stop practices closing.”