Sheffield surgeries serving 13,000 patients ‘could close’

Paul Blomfield MPwith Dr Graham Pettinger and Geoff Green and Geoff Wilkinson from the patient participation group
Paul Blomfield MPwith Dr Graham Pettinger and Geoff Green and Geoff Wilkinson from the patient participation group
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Up to 13,000 patients in Sheffield could see their surgeries close in the next few years as a result of NHS funding changes, campaigners claim.

Labour MP Paul Blomfield is backing a city campaign against the phasing out of the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee, which will see some surgeries losing more than £100,000 in funding.

Paul Blomfield MP signed a petition at Devonshire Green Medical Centre against funding changes that could result in the closure of several Sheffield GP practices. Paul is pictured with Dr Graham Pettinger and Geoff Green and Geoff Wilkinson from the patient participation group.

Paul Blomfield MP signed a petition at Devonshire Green Medical Centre against funding changes that could result in the closure of several Sheffield GP practices. Paul is pictured with Dr Graham Pettinger and Geoff Green and Geoff Wilkinson from the patient participation group.

A new petition has been launched in Sheffield by a patient participation group against the policy – which campaigners claim could result in half a dozen local surgeries closing.

More than 200 people have signed an online version, launched at Devonshire Green Medical Centre.

Dr Graham Pettinger, from the practice, whose sister site is Hanover Medical Centre, said the twin surgeries will be threatened with closure if the changes are fully imposed.

The funding is being phased out over seven years, with the first reductions starting last summer.

Dr Pettinger said there is no current intention to close the sites, which have around 6,500 patients on their books – but their future cannot be guaranteed.

He said he understands four other practices in Sheffield may also have to consider closure in the future.

Mr Blomfield said: “I’m supporting the patients’ campaign because we need to put maximum pressure on the Government to think again and prevent a local health care crisis.

“Local GP surgeries like Hanover and Devonshire Green are the first port of call for people who are unwell or have health difficulties. They’re an essential community service and Ministers need to urgently listen to the concerns of local GPs and patients before it’s too late.”

Geoff Green, a Broomhall resident and spokesman for the patient participation group, said: “Without the income guarantee, the practice will be critically underfunded because the basic formula for financing GPs takes no account of the high levels of demand and complexity of care needed by disadvantaged populations.

“There is no question of any fault on the part of the practice. Local NHS bodies have looked at the way it is run and concluded it is both effective and efficient, whilst providing a high quality service. There is no slack.

“The practice income is used efficiently. There is no question of waste and no possibility of what they call efficiency savings.

“If the withdrawal of MPIG goes ahead as planned, the only outcome for this practice and for 100 others around the country will be bankruptcy and closure – and no-one is telling us where our 6,500 patients will go for their health needs”

No-one from NHS England was available for comment.

n To view the petition, visit www.change.org and search MPIG