The new 2014 GP funding formula doesn't work, a conclusion an NHS accountant could have come to, given ten minutes and a calculator. So why has it has taken NHS England in London four months (into the first year of funding changes) to recognise that 98 outlier practices need rescuing?
The relief plan is a two-year suspension of the changes while a new funding formula is calculated. I have a radical idea. What about suspending all changes until a funding formula that works is found?
The suspension only applies to practices that will lose £3 per patient, per year, over the seven-year phasing out of MPIG. So a practice of 10,000 patients that was forecast to lose £210,000 under the new funding formula will be protected for two years; a practice located down the road losing £2.90 per patient (equating to £203,000) will receive no help. This is pernicious and, I feel, discriminatory.
Why don’t we splash out on a batch of up-to-date calculators and a few competent accountants for NHS England? Better still, let’s make a deal that we don’t make changes until we know the change works. This would be the best move but, for now, it is nothing but a pipedream.