Please write to your MP
Oppose the withdrawal of the MPIG:
Robert Goodwill MP
House of Commons
The government has decided to make large funding cuts to rural GP practices in England that could mean the closure of some surgeries and the loss of country doctors! Egton and Danby surgeries will be hit hard by these new plans.
GP surgeries receive funding for each registered patient. Naturally, rural surgeries like us have smaller numbers of patients and therefore receive less funding from the NHS. This could be too little to sustain the most rural practices without an additional payment called the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee (MPIG). Doctors have pointed this out during recent negotiations, but the government still plans to withdraw the MPIG over seven years from April 2014 and distribute this money to all other practices in the country.
£130,000 of MPIG funding per year will be withdrawn from Danby and Egton Surgeries together. When distributed to the remaining 8230 GP practices in England (2009 figures) each practice will receive a ‘boost’ of £15.80 each year. In other words, the government is seriously threatening the existence of GP surgeries in rural England to provide a meagre support to remaining practices!
We already use fees paid for dispensing medicines, clinics elsewhere and out of hours work to support the practice as it is. We will work more for less and become more efficient. However, the sheer scale of the cuts would require dramatic changes to the way we work and a loss of doctors. We are also concerned about the future: which young doctor would want to join an underfunded surgery and risk burnout?
Our workload has already doubled as more care and specialised treatment is provided by GPs and hospitals discharge patients quickly. In Egton and Danby, we have always tried to see our patients early and provide best care to reduce their need for A&E attendances and hospital admissions. We know that people in the countryside are already disadvantaged because hospitals, ambulances and all other medical services are in faraway towns. Our patients rely on their own initiative and good neighbours for transport, and on their GPs to make more home visits across a huge practice area, at a time when district nursing services and Whitby hospital are suffering cuts as well. How would reducing GPs fit with the government’s plans to keep people well and out of hospital?
Scotland and Wales understand the unique challenges of providing rural health care and will be continuing the MPIG. The reason for withdrawing it in England was to ensure ‘equality of funding’, our government says. We say this is unfair as it ignores the fact that rural life is not equal to town life and therefore is in need of support such as the MPIG – like the London allowance to name one example.
We felt you had a right to know about the planned cuts to your surgeries so you have a chance to find out more and speak up. We have already contacted various officials and have met with our MP Robert Goodwill who promised his support, who said he needed many letters from constituents to give more weight to his efforts.
The GPs of Egton and Danby Surgeries, June 2013