East London victory! – GP surgeries to remain open


EAST London GPs have won an ‘extraordinary victory’, securing a write-off of hundreds of thousands of pounds of Tory cuts.

Seventeen GP surgeries in east London had been at risk of closure from ‘nightmare’ cuts

Save Our Surgeries campaigner Virginia Patania, a CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) board member and managing partner at the Tower Hamlets Jubilee Street practice, said: ‘I am hoping it will cover anyone who has tangibly felt any type of loss over the past year.’

Ms Patania described the deal as ‘an extraordinary victory’. ‘We have a lot to celebrate,’ she added, ‘because we will be able to continue to deliver the care that Tower Hamlets is known for and we feel really reassured by how we have been able to work with the CCG and NHS England to secure something which is clearly of value to everyone.’

GPs in Tower Hamlets and Hackney had said they could go bankrupt within months – leaving about 100,000 patients without a family doctor, and had been campaigning hard against closure. Dr Sarit Patel said he had been facing closure after being told his core NHS funding of £12,500 a month was being cut by a quarter. His St Katharine Docks Practice, which has 1,600 patients, was the worst hit of 36 of 38 surgeries in Tower Hamlets to have their funding reduced.

Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has reached an agreement with NHS England to offer financial support to practices that were previously outside the national MPIG (Minimum Practice Income Guarantee) support package. The CCG chief officer Jane Milligan said it means severely financially challenged practices will have access to support for the next two years.

The deal came under intense criticism from many GPs who said they were unfairly excluded and were faced with closure. Now local NHS England officials have finally admitted that they used incorrect data to calculate the losses of two practices.

Tower Hamlets GPs and practice staff have led a London-wide campaign against funding cuts, which began after the Jubilee Street practice announced in 2014 that it faced imminent closure because of predicted MPIG losses totalling £900,000.