East London GPs’ Emergency Forum against Closure Threat


Pic: Rory Bowens

Modernisation – at a cost? Pic: Rory Bowens

Under a programme reported by EastLondonLines, 22 practices in east London face closure due to the removal of the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee – a key funding source for general practices in areas of deprivation. GPs and their patients from Tower Hamlets, Hackney, and Newham met at Mile End Hospital this week to discuss their response to NHS England’s new ‘Fairer Funding’ Programme.

These practices include 12 in Hackney, 5 in Tower Hamlets and 5 in Newham.

Dr Sarit Patel is a GP in St Katherine’s Dock, which is one of the practices at risk of closure. He says that this will have a detrimental effect on health in an area which is already seriously understaffed. (More in the audio below.)

Virginia Patania is a managing partner of Jubilee Street in Tower Hamlets, another practice at risk.

She organised the forum and highlighted the fact that it is people from the most disadvantaged areas – especially Tower Hamlets – who will suffer most from the funding changes.

‘We have much higher mortality rates in Tower Hamlets, people die 10 years before the national average, they get sick 12 years before the national average… these very needy, very deprived people would find themselves without their own GP with very little notice’, she stated.

The ‘Save Lewisham Hospital’ Campaign was repeatedly cited as a source of inspiration by participants at the forum. The Forum concluded with the unanimous passing of a vote of no-confidence in the ‘Fairer Funding’ Programme.

East London Lines spoke to some of the participants:

We also spoke to Virginia Patania who organised the forum:

Video produced by Rory Bowens and Xui Mi.

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