Published: 22 February, 2013
by TOM FOOT
GPs threatened with a “drastic loss of funding” have warned that moving care out of the Whittington Hospital and into their surgeries is “asking for trouble”.
Health bosses unveiled plans this week to dramatically reduce funding to 16 GP practices in Camden by 25-40 per cent. Doctors have told the Tribune that the changes will lead to redundancies and surgery closures that will have a “profound effect” on around 100,000 patients.
The Whittington says GPs can provide services they currently run from the Highgate hospital site. But Dr Geoff Wong, a GP at Daleham Gardens Surgery since 1999, Belsize, said: “Anything they want to push into primary care from hospitals is going to be affected by these changes. Half of patient care in Camden is provided by practices that are going to lose staff under these changes. Will I be able to provide additional services? Well there is only 24 hours in the day. How can I do the additional clinics?
“The idea of pushing more services onto under-staffed surgeries is frankly asking for trouble. This is what happened at Mid Staffs and this is what is happening and there is no acknowledgement of that.”
Doctors have been given six weeks to digest NCL’s major contractual review, which will take effect on April 1, and could leave some surgeries in Camden up to £240,000 short each year. A meeting at the headquarters of North Central London Sector NHS Trust in Stephenson House, Euston, on Tuesday heard concerns that “several practices will close”.
Furious GPs issued a statement warning: “This drastic loss of funding will lead to redundancies, the loss of doctors and nurses, the loss of these extra services, a return to shorter appointments, loss of continuity of care and poorer access for patients.”
NCL project manager Suzanne Novack told a meeting on Tuesday in Stephenson House that Camden GPs were getting more funding than other parts of the sector – spanning Barnet and Enfield – but they were not meeting some patient satisfaction targets. She said the review was to ensure “equal patient funding for equal patient need”.