Page Hall surgery funding cuts

Page Hall Medical Centre
Page Hall Medical Centre

Story & photo:Graham Jones

Our NHS general practice staff do a committed, inspired and efficient job, making quality health service accessible to us all.

Many readers therefore will have been shocked to see headlines in recent months claiming that services at the Page Hall Medical Centre (rated 4* by its patients), are at risk, even though it is in an area of inequality and deprivation. Dedicated staff are facing the grim prospect of redundancy and patients fear losing vital services for a diverse community with complex health needs.

Practices like Page Hall have received extra funds over the past twenty years but these are being withdrawn. Now it looks set to lose a quarter of a million pounds or 21% of its budget. This is because NHS England is changing the financing of general practices. The new system pays practices a basic rate of £78 per patient per year regardless of where they live in the city and 62 out of 87 Sheffield GP practices will lose funding as a result. Sheffield CCG has offered £5 per patient to all practices for ‘extra’ work which will help some practices balance their books, but some practices are losing more than £20 per patient.

In a question to the Clinical Commissioning Group Councillor Jackie Drayton explained:

“The level of demographic change that has happened in our city has not been recognised by the government cuts that we’ve had.”

In July there was an extraordinary Clinical Commissioning meeting to discuss the issue which was attended by an unprecedented number of patients and staff protesting to save their services and jobs.

It has been quite a campaign: a petition raised 500 signatures in a few days; letters have been sent to local MPs; doctors from Page Hall Medical Centre met with local MP, Harry Harpham, to express their concerns; and Paul Blomfield MP has raised the issue in the House of Commons.

Jan Jude, Practice manager at Page Hall spoke to the Messenger:

“Our patients have complex needs and require extra support with communication and education, which requires extra staff and longer consultations “On the basis of this, we have put in an application to the Clinical Commissioning Group to be considered as a special case. “We know we are not the only practice with such issues and we hope to work with other practices, locally and nationally, to lobby the CCG and the Government for additional long term funding.”

The funding cuts are due to begin in October 2015 but Page Hall can continue providing its full services until at least April 2016 and hopefully additional funding will be found to continue to provide primary care services to the local community. At present the special case funding is being reviewed by the CCG along with 13 other submissions from across the city.

The organisation ‘Sheffield Save our NHS’ argues that:

“South Yorkshire has been among the big losers as both health and local authority budgets are disproportionately reduced because of the removal or marginalisation of allocations for inequality and deprivation, thus benefiting richer areas in the South of England.”

As regards deprivation in Burngreave, according to 2013 figures 41.8% children live in poverty and, compared with a UK average of 80.5, life expectancy in Burngreave is 76 years, or about the same as that in Libya and Mexico, according to UN figures. Our GP practices are the bedrock of our health care in the area and any cuts in funding will affect all of us.

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The content on this page was added to the website by John Mellor on 2015-10-02 16:00:12.
The content of the page was last modified by Alice Kirby on 2016-10-12 17:28:55.

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