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Why use a faulty funding formula in the first place?

Conducting running repairs on a badly-designed machine is never a good idea, it may keep it going for a while, but it will eventually break down.

A comparable is the key feature of GPs’ core GMS funding since 2004, a global sum based on a formula that did not work and needed continuous fixing. The running repair  – the minimum practice income guarantee (MPIG), or correction factor – has done a reasonable job. It hasn’t been a perfect solution, but it has just about worked.

The new global sum, without MPIG or correction factor, is also faulty. For some practices is it survivable but, for many, the change is nothing short of catastrophic. The solution I read about yesterday is the development of a ‘financial support package’ for practices hit by MPIG cuts: a kind of MPIG2 or MPIG Lite? 

Wouldn’t it just be better to get the formula right in the first place rather than jumping-with-both feet into something we know doesn’t work? Wouldn’t it be better not to have to resort to using sticking plaster to patch up gaps created by people who should know better? Wouldn’t it be better to pilot the new method before rolling it out? If ministers had done this in 2004 we would not have a problem to fix now – and would not be fixing it with a solution that has a fundamental, built-in flaw.

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