Adam Barnett for The Docklands and East London Advertiser reports 24th April 2014: Shadwell GP practice with 11,000 patients facing closure due to funding cuts – Rationing without agreement in a patient centred Health Service?
An NHS doctor’s surgery serving 11,000 patients is facing closure due to changes in government funding
The Jubilee Street Practice in Commercial Road says the government’s plans to phase out the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee mean it will not have enough cash to survive.
Manager and partner Virginia Patania, 37, said the practice would close in the next six to 12 months unless something is done.
Ms Patania, who lives in Whitechapel, said: “We’re going to lose almost £1million over the next seven years. We are set to give notice this autumn unless this is rectified.
“This is a practice nationally recognised for its outcomes serving one of the most deprived populations in the country.
“I can’t get my head around the fact this is happening. It’s beyond disbelief.”
Patients, too, are worried, she said. “We have now got basically a patient revolt. Dozens of people are coming in asking what’s happening with the doctors, if they have to move to another practice, whether all the surgeries will be closing. There’s a panic.”
The practice has been in Commercial Road for 70 years.
NHS England says 98 GP practices are at risk of closure, including five in the East End, but Ms Patania claims after appearing in the national press she was contacted by 1,000 practices across the UK in similar positions.
Dr Naomi Beer, who has worked at the practice since 1989, said: “We’re already dealing with a high level of mortality in Tower Hamlets. This is obviously going to have an impact on the most needy and sick members of our society.”
An NHS England spokesman for London said most practices in the capital would receive more, not less, funding as a result of the changes.
“These changes will take place over seven years to allow practices to adjust and plan,” she said, adding NHS England had contacted affected GP practices to find ways to support them.
Labour Cllr Rachael Saunders said: “This is a heartless Tory attack on the poorest and most vulnerable communities. “Taking away health funding from the most deprived areas means families in the greatest need are left without the access to the health services they badly need.”