Patients suffer in GP funding lottery. Ager and civil unrest to follow?

We all know that there is a funding lottery throughout the different UK Health Regions. It’s not just GP services, but cancer and waiting times/lists, psychiatry, infertility, terminations of pregnancy and many other areas. The author has missed the point: that this is endemic. Patients and their families do not know what is not available until they need it. Then it may be too late and since the politicians don’t care nothing will be done in the near future.. NHSreality predicts anger and civil unrest to come as the safety net fails..

Image result for safety net cartoon

Chris Smyth reports in The Times 22nd December 2016: Patients suffer in GP funding lottery

Patients wait longer to see a doctor in many areas because some surgeries get a few pence for each registered patient while others receive thousands of pounds.

An “unjust” postcode lottery in funding for GP practices is forcing thousands of people to take appointments with nurses or go without extra services, such as home visits or diabetes checks, doctors and campaigners say.

Official figures analysed by The Times show a 93,000-fold variation in how much surgeries received last year for each person on their books, but the data give no clear reason why.

One practice in Romford, east London, was given £1.74 for each of its 2,608 patients last year as it merged with a neighbouring surgery. A mile away a second practice received £188 for each of 3,949 patients. Payments also varied regionally, from £240 in north Norfolk to £113 innorthwest Surrey. According to the analysis of data from NHS Digital, 731 practices got more than £200 a patient and 387 received less than £100. The average is £143.

At the extreme end of the scale, Shooters Hill Medical Centre in south London got £40,503 for its only registered patient in 2015-16, but the Leagrave Road Medical Practice in Bedfordshire received 43p for each of its 1,119 patients. Both have now closed. Shooters Hill treated many unregistered patients, including the homeless.

The variation has been condemned by patient groups but health chiefs are struggling to find a fairer allocation, amid fears that some surgeries could close if funding were changed.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “There is no excuse for it. In parts of the country some patients will get a fantastic service from GPs but if they live 20 miles down the road the same service doesn’t exist. It’s an unjust system and the way it’s allocated needs to be looked at so that it’s not a postcode lottery.”

Most GP funding comes via a central formula that allocates extra money to surgeries with large numbers of elderly or deprived patients, or those that dispense medicines themselves. However, most of the variation does not seem to be explained by sicker patients and doctors say that discrepancies have built up over time as an unintended result of an arcane funding system.

…political “unsayables”. Behind closed doors nearly every politician admits that the current system for paying for health and social care is decades out of date.

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Perverse Incentives, Post Code Lottery, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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