VIDEO: Threatened GP services across Sheffield offered new deal

GP services across Sheffield which have been threatened with funding cuts have been offered new proposals by Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group which it says will help those under threat.

Last week The Star reported 62 out of 87 GP practices across the city were facing funding cuts thanks to a redistribution of NHS England money.

Some surgeries, such as Page Hall Medical Centre, said they could be forced to close if the changes went through.

But tonight Sheffield's CCG passed amended proposals which it claims will help reduce the impact of the redistribution.

GPs and health experts at the meeting voted to use the £2.8 million being removed from some practices to fund 'non-core services' at all practices across the city - which is what was initially proposed by the CCG two weeks ago.

But the CCG also passed a proposal for a 'special measures' fund to be created, given out to GP practices which could demonstrate specific need for more cash.

Page Hall Medical Centre

Page Hall Medical Centre

Another new proposal will see the CCG work on identifying practices with specific needs in the coming months before its next meeting in September.

Options proposed but ruled out included returning the removed money to practices as before, and using the money to target health inequalities specifically.

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 they provide.

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

Tonight's decision means the £2.8 million being redistributed will be used to fund non-core services, with an additional pot of cash available in the short-term for those surgeries able to demonstrate particular needs for more cash.

The changes, the CCG claim, will mean

Dr Trish Evans, a GP at Page Hall Medical Centre, said: "It was a really good meeting, it’s been brilliant that so many patients were here, so many patients’ voices were listened to."

"We would agree that general practice is under-funded, that it’s creaking at the seams and GPs are struggling to do their day to day jobs."

"We support fairer funding for all practices in Sheffield. I think there was recognition that there are a couple of practices standing to lose big amounts of money and that we do provide additional services and patients with specific needs that are not met in the (current patient weighting model) the Carr Hill Formula, and I was very encouraged that there was an amendment that meant the CCG would come back in September having looked at details on how those practices could be supported."

"I think the future will depend on what happens with this fund, and what information is brought back to the CCG in September. But I think we did make our patients’ voices heard and we can be cautiously optimistic that we can carry on providing good quality of care for our patients."

"It’s absolutely a better offer than two weeks ago.”

Dr Graham Pettinger, a GP and partner at Devonshire Green and Hanover Street Medical Centres said: "I’m slightly disappointed they have chosen to support option two in that only option three really specifically was targeted to address issues of inequality across the city."

"But in choosing option two they are trying to support all practices across Sheffield."

"They have however given a firm public undertaking to consider patients living in difficult areas and practices, trying to give care to those patients and the special financial consideration those practices have."

"There is money set aside to support those practices and I think that is a very important addition.”

Dr Tim Moorhead, chair of Sheffield CCG: "There was a risk if we didn’t make this investment, some of those non-core services might not be continued."

"Where practices are having this funding removed, and we think there are as many as 11 that will have a significant impact, we with withhold money, and we are bringing in some of the CCG’s funding, to create a transition fund so those practices can deliver the change they will have to deliver, as services are withdrawn, as smoothly as possible."

"The funding is withdrawn from 62 practices initially but then it’s redistributed. We think slightly over 50 will gain additional funding and most of the rest will only lose a very small amount."

"We think there will still be 11 that wil lose a very signficant amount and that’s what the transition fund is helping with."

"I need to make it categorically clear that I am making an absolute statement that I will do everything I can to keep surgeries open and I don’t think any surgery is threatened by this process."

"I don’t think any surgeries in Sheffield are threatened by any other process. But we will do absolutely everything we can to prevent these surgeries closing.”