Save Our Surgery Update
Rowhedge and University of Essex Medical Practice
The Rowhedge and University of Essex Medical Practice was facing a funding threat which could have resulted in loss of services and doctors.
We've saved the Surgery!
We have great news to share with our patients. After almost 12 months of negotiations, NHS England finally understood our plight in November 2014. Behind the scenes the practice manager and doctors have worked hard to negotiate and agree a contract that will potentially re-fund the equivalent monies that was being removed from the practice for the next 3 years. Although the contract has a break clause written into it, and only covers up to the next 3 years, we feel delighted to have made it this far. In the current political climate it is impossible to predict further than 3 years ahead regarding what may happen to the NHS.
The partners and staff would like to thank patients for all their support during this difficult time, as we feel this really helped to make a difference to the notice that NHS England took of us, realising that our patients were willing to stand up and be counted.
Dr Michele Wall
History Behind The Headlines:
We are a unique local practice working from two sites, providing traditional family medicine to the villages of Rowhedge and Fingringhoe and the surrounding area, but also to a population of young adults at the University of Essex. In 2004 when the “New GP contract” was brought in and the funding of practices was changed, there was an introduction of the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee(MPIG) which was designed to prevent financial de-stabilisation of practice. The contract stated that this would remain in perpetuity so long as it was needed.In April 2014 the MPIG will be withdrawn over a period of 7 years as a new GP contract is introduced (without GP agreement). The loss of the MPIG is causing concern as some practices will face the threat of becoming non-viable as they will be unable to fund the current service provision.
98 practices in the UK have been identified by NHS England as being under financial threat, and we are one of the 98.
We have a list size of 12,500 patients, with approximately 4,000 patients at our village surgery in Rowhedge and approximately 8,500 at our University Health Centre. Due to the financial “weighting factor” of how the practice is paid for looking after our young population at the University Surgery, this reduces our payment to the equivalent of less than 9,000 patients. We will lose 25% of our funding with the loss of MPIG and this equates to an approximate loss 30% of our overall funding.
Student protest against funding cuts
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of the BMA’s GP committee said:
“It is clear that Rowhedge and University of Essex Medical Practice makes an incredibly valuable contribution to the care of students in the local area in challenging circumstances. The fact that the practice is already being forced to close one afternoon a week demonstrates how this funding crisis is starting to bite. We need an urgent resolution to this problem before services in the area are hurt any further.”
Our patients at the University Health Centre are a vulnerable part of the population, many being away from home for the first time at the age of 18 years. 40% of our population are overseas students, and there is evidence that shows that newly registered and overseas patients present a significantly greater number of times to their GP in the first year, than a member of the practice who is from the UK and has been registered for a significant period of time.
Every October we register 2,500 new patients at our health centre. The logistics of this are phenomenal. We provide a face to face consultation with every patient, to educate them of how the service works, howto access medical help, provide public health information such as contraceptive and sexual health advice and mass immunisation as many overseas students have not been immunised against Meningitis C and MMR. The huge turnover of patients creates significant administrative work, none of which is recognised by current methods of funding or indeed NHS England.
The sad fact is that the people who will suffer when our MPIG is removed are the patients, yet interestingly the business plan for NHS England is entitled “Putting Patients First.”
Our only option over the coming years will be to reduce the level of service we provide, to remove the unique services that we offer for the student population, such as triage,sexual health clinics, public health campaigns and immunisations, and run the service as a limited branch surgery for 8,500 patients. This will create significant expense to the public purse as our patients will be forced to attend Walk-In-Clinic and A&E as there will be no options but to access healthcare elsewhere, and this we know will be significantly more costly for the taxpayer. We consider this to be false economy on a giant scale and such a shame as we consider ourselves to be specialists in student health. We feel we have years of experience in providing such care which has led to the development of good working relationship with the University and a healthcare service which is finely tailored to student needs.
The funding cuts are likely to result in a loss of doctors, potentially having to reduce from being a 5 doctor practice to a 3 doctor practice. Most surgeries will have approximately 2,000 patients per GP, yet this would leave us with 4,150+ patients per GP. It is simple to see what will happen to patient care.Patients will have to wait longer to see a doctor, and patient care will therefore suffer.
Please join our campaign to help save our funding to enable us to look after our patients. If you wish to help then please contact the surgery or write a letter or e mail Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health. Please click on the link below to download a suggested letter that can be printed and posted or e mailed to Jeremy Hunt. Please enclose your name and address on the letter in order to receive a response.
Or "like" our campaign on facebook at: www.facebook.com/PutPatientsFirst
See our story on the ITV local news:
Our story made it onto Channel 4 News:
Dr Wall, Dr O’Regan,,Dr Richardson,Dr Speers & Dr Dawson