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..
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.