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Rural areas threatened by Tory GP cash cuts hit-list

Doctors have warned that national funding cuts could see nearly 100 GP practices closed

Doctors have warned that national funding cuts could see nearly 100 GP practices in mainly rural areas close their doors, affecting thousands of patients.

Swathes of rural England could be left without a practice, the British Medical Association (BMA) warned yesterday on the eve of publication of an NHS England report about the impact of the government's seven-year phase out of the minimum practice income guarantee (MPIG) from April.

The MPIG guarantees smaller GP practices a minimum level of funding regardless of the number of patients on their practice list.

NHS England has drawn up an anonymised list of 98 "outlier" practices that could lose more than £3 per patient every year.

But a few practices on the list will lose more than £100 per patient annually with others losing £20-£30 per patient.

Although NHS England has stated that rural practices account for just 15 per cent of the 98 outliers, the BMA warned that there are a "significant number" of other practices not on the list that will be severely affected.

BMA's GP committee chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: "The government has seriously misjudged the potential impact of its funding changes, especially on rural GP services.

"It is likely that a few hundred practices will lose noticeable levels of funding, with 98 practices identified by NHS England as being at serious risk from severe cuts in their financial support that could threaten their ability to remain open."

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