Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, and campaigners from the ‘Save Our Surgeries’ campaign handed in a 20,000-strong petition to 10 Downing Street today. The campaign was set up by GPs and patients in response to Government plans to phase out funding known as the 'minimum practice income guarantee' (MPIG) for GP surgeries across the UK.
- NHS England has identified 98 ‘outlier’ surgeries nationwide which will struggle to survive as a result of these changes.
- The Government has so far failed to publish the names of the threatened surgeries, however it is known that 22 serve communities across Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham.
- Five are known to be in Tower Hamlets alone.
- The petition handover was also attended by Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse.
- 11 London Labour MPs have co-signed the letter to David Cameron.
Rushanara Ali MP said:
“Our local GP surgeries play a crucial role in allowing local residents to access frontline primary care. Only last week, The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) warned that GPs are likely to turn away patients over 50 million times next year and that a lack of investment has brought the service to its knees.
“David Cameron’s Government’s top-down reorganisation of the NHS is wreaking havoc on our GP services. These pressures have also created a crisis in our A&E services, and that is why alongside the thousands of local residents, who have signed the petition, we are calling on David Cameron to reverse his Government’s decision before it is too late. We want the Government to release the names of the 98 ‘outlier’ surgeries so that patients and GPs can prepare for the worst should the Government fail to act, but we simply cannot stand back and let that happen.”
Dr Naomi Beer, GP at the award-winning Jubilee Street Practice in Tower Hamlets, said:
“Our patients often tell us how much they appreciate the high quality, accessible service that Jubilee Street provides. We’ve already taken pay cuts to try to keep going, but we can’t absorb such a huge loss. It breaks my heart to think that our patients, some of them amongst the poorest in the country, are at very real risk of losing their GP practice. We are asking the government to take action to ensure all practices receive a fair allocation of funds. ”
In their letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, 11 Labour MPs said:
“Reduced funding resulting in the potential closure of GP surgeries not only in Tower Hamlets but nationwide will undoubtedly have serious implications for thousands of people who expect to be able to visit their local GP services they know and trust. The Government’s reforms will be damaging to people’s healthcare and will particularly harm some of the poorest communities in the country. In Tower Hamlets alone there are high levels of poverty and health inequalities with over 40% of children living in poverty and life expectancies below the national average, these changes will be devastating. Only last week The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) warned that GPs are likely to turn away patients over 50 million times next year and that a lack of investment has brought the service to its knees.”
- For more information on the campaign, please refer to www.peoplesnhs.org.
- Please lend your support to the campaign by signing the petition.
- Please follow social activity on Twitter via #SaveOurSurgeries.
- Rushanara challenged David Cameron over his record on local GPs surgeries and the NHS in Tower Hamlets during Prime Minister’s Questions on 18 June 2014. The full text can be found on the Hansard.
- Rushanara also contributed to a Westminster Hall Debate secured by Jim Fitzpatrick MP on GP services in Tower Hamlets. The full text from the debate can be found on the Hansard.
- Thousands of supporters of the campaign took to the streets in Tower Hamlets and Hackney on 05 July 2014 to demonstrate their deep concerns about the impending threat of closure that now overshadows the important work of some 98 GP surgeries around the country.
- MPs who have co-signed the letter to David Cameron: Meg Hillier MP, Dame Joan Ruddock MP, Kate Hoey MP, Heidi Alexander MP, Lyn Brown MP, Seema Malhotra MP, Diane Abbott MP, Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Rt Hon Frank Dobson MP and Jim Dowd MP.
- A copy of the letter to David Cameron can be found here.