More than 60 GP surgeries across Sheffield are being hit by major funding cuts - with the worst-affected practices in some of the city’s most deprived areas facing potential closure.
NHS England funding changes mean 62 out of 87 city surgeries will lose funding.
A total of 11 surgeries will lose more than £20 per weighted patient – up to £30.97 – equivalent to several hundred thousand pounds per year. One of those worst-hit is Page Hall Medical Centre, which has revealed it could be forced to close.
It will lose £260,000 per year under the plans, which is more than a fifth of its budget. Dr Kate Bellingham, a GP at the Owler Lane centre, said: “We are facing massive financial challenges at the moment and don’t know how we are going to remain viable. We hope closure won’t happen, but that is the threat at the moment.
“If we lose the full 21 per cent, I can’t see how we can continue to operate.
“We have fought for our funding for the past 25 years and now they are taking it off us and spending it across the whole city, with no opportunity to justify why we needed more money in the first place. It’s a 21 per cent cut to our funding. That’s £258,000 per year.
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.
However, premiums given to PMS practices for providing extra services are being scrapped, with the money being redistributed across all practices.
Currently, some surgeries get as much as £115 per weighted patient, while others get £73. In future, all surgeries will get £78 per patient – a huge cut for some practices in the most deprived areas an. Some of the freed-up resources will be handed to Sheffield clinical commissioning group for redistribution across the city, but it will still leave 62 out of 87 practices facing a significant cut.
A report on the changes said: “This approach will detrimentally affect 62 out of the 87 practices in Sheffield, with 40 practices losing more than £5 per weighted patient, 11 of which will lose more than £20 per weighted patient.”
“Despite the CCG’s best efforts to reinvest the £5 per weighted head and our looking to appropriately supplement the offer in time, there will still be a significant number of practices in the city which will lose significant sums over the next few years and, as yet, it is not clear as to how this will impact on practice viability and potential practice closures.”
Katrina Cleary, of NHS Sheffield CCG, said: “This is a national policy position being implemented by NHS England to align the level of payment for each type of contract over the next seven years. Whilst some practices in Sheffield will gain financially from this approach others will lose, and for some practices their financial loss will be considerable.