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National meeting called over MPIG losses at GP practices

BMA and NHS England to discuss London practices

Adrian O'Dowd

Monday, 23 February 2015

A national meeting between the BMA and NHS England has been called to sort out problems around potential losses at some GP practices caused by changes to the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee (MPIG).

The BMA said it had organised an urgent meeting with NHS England to discuss funding losses affecting a number of GP practices in London, especially in the Tower Hamlets area.

In April of last year, the government began phasing out the MPIG, which was designed to provide finances to GP practices in challenging circumstances which needed additional resources to deliver GP services to their local communities.

In August, NHS England agreed to provide short-term funding to support some of the practices affected by these changes.

However, some GP practices, including some serving London’s most deprived areas, have struggled to access the reprieve funding offered, which has led to concerns that they could not continue operating.

The BMA believes that the eligibility criteria have not been explained clearly enough and there has a lack of transparency around the way this additional support has been calculated, which has meant some practices have not been able to access enough funding.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair, said: “The BMA has warned from the outset about the devastating impact of rapid MPIG withdrawal on patient services.

“NHS England had previously agreed to our call to provide support to ‘outlying’ practices identified as greatest losers in this process and we are expecting them to honour their commitment.

“We are deeply concerned at reports, such as in Tower Hamlets, of practices being unclear about their eligibility and the accuracy of data being used to calculate losses. This could be denying practices the crucial support they need.

“I have written formally to NHS England detailing our concerns and we have secured an urgent meeting with them together with other interested parties to discuss the financial cliff edge facing a number of practices.”

Virgina Patania, practice manger of the Jubilee Street Practice in Tower Hamlets, said: “We regret that our initial meetings with NHS England have not yet produced a solution to address MPIG losses, but are reassured by NHS England’s ongoing efforts to work with general practice and our representative bodies.

“We hope for a speedy solution such that practices currently at risk of closure or redundancies can be helped while there is still time.”

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