‘Crisis unfolding’ as ten Sheffield GP surgeries miss out on funding bids

Clive Betts MP
Clive Betts MP
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A ‘crisis is unfolding’ after 10 Sheffield GP practices had funding bids rejected, an MP has warned

A total of 14 surgeries applied to be treated as ‘special cases’ after national funding cuts – but city health chiefs decided only four should be considered as such.

The bids came after warnings that 62 out of 87 city surgeries will lose funding as a result of national changes to the way funding is calculated for GP practices.

Clive Betts, Labour MP for South East Sheffield, said: “I’m very disappointed. GPs already have an impossible task and I dread to think what effect this will have on the surgeries who lost out.

He added: “There is a real problem with funding for GPs. We are witnessing a crisis unfolding in general practitioning – and it’s unfolding before our eyes.

“GPs clearly need more funds – not less. We are going in the wrong direction.”

Practices considered to have special cases were Devonshire Green and Hanover Medical Centres, Page Hall Medical Centre, Sheffield Medical Centre and Upwell Street.

Chapelgreen, Dovercourt Surgery, East Bank Medical Centre, Foxhill Medical Centre, Harold Street Medical Centre, Park Health Centre, Porter Brook Medical Centre, Richmond Medical Centre, Sothall and Beighton, and Tramways and Middlewood Medical Centres were rejected.

Devonshire and Hanover Green was selected as a special case due to being a ‘unique practice’ dealing with homeless people, patients suffering from mental illness, alcohol dependency and drug addiction.

Page Hall was chosen because of ‘patient demographics’. Officials say it could not continue to meet patients’ needs without extra support.

Sheffield Medical Centre and Upwell Street have been recommended but more information is being requested about their financial positions before final decisions are made by a committee.

The funding bids are in response to the redistribution of Personal Medical Services Premium funds across Sheffield’s GP practices.

There are two types of practice in Sheffield: general medical services surgeries which must provide certain essential services and can choose to provide more, and personal medical services surgeries, which have flexibility to negotiate the services it provides.

But premiums given to PMS practices for providing extra services are being scrapped, with money redistributed across all practices.

Currently, some surgeries get up to £115 per weighted patient. Others get £73. In future, all surgeries will get £78 per patient – a huge cut for some practices in the most deprived areas.

The NHS Sheffield CCG set up the ‘special cases’ process after deciding the national formula used to distribute the main funding did not fully reflect our local population’s needs around deprivation’ - with £4m set aside for meeting those needs.

Dr Zak McMurray, medical director for NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The purpose of the ‘special cases’ process is to understand and respond to patient needs over and above those facing all practices.

“For some practices, this exercise will help manage the loss of income they have experienced as a result of the equalisation of funding. It will not necessarily replace all the funding lost, and not every practice that applied was considered to be a special case. We understand that for those losing income this may be difficult.

“For practices having to change how they work to manage that loss, we will work with them to help them do that. We will also do everything we can to work with practices to protect key services for patients.”