A national solution to issues that would address the removal of vital funding from a Ribble Valley health centre cannot be found – to the disappointment of its staff and patients.
Slaidburn Health Centre was informed by David Geddes, Head of Primary Care Commissioning NHS England, that there would not be a national solution to the funding issues due to the removal of the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee.
He added that it had identified 98 “outlier” practices which had the most substantial MPIG losses and that these practices would work with the local area teams to look for solutions.
These could include collaborating or merging with other nearby practices to provide a more cost efficient service or identifying other ways in which the practice might potentially improve cost efficiency, such as reviewing staffing structures and, where appropriate, reviewing other commissioning and/or contracting options.
An urgent meeting was arranged for the practice with representatives of the Local Area Team, the Local Medical Committee and the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group.
The Local Area Team (LAT) said additional funding was not available, but a merger with one of the Clitheroe practices or another practice was an option, whereby Slaidburn Health Centre could be kept open as a branch surgery.
If this was not possible then there would be a planned dispersal of patients. However, discussions between the Slaidburn practice and the Clitheroe practices in the previous week indicated that neither Clitheroe practice was interested in a merger.
Before any option could be negotiated with the LAT, the practice has to enter into a consultation period, project managed by the LAT. The LAT would secure transitional money to maintain the current level of funding until the end of the consultation period.
It was envisaged that this consultation period would take at least three months.