Patients Protest For Essex GP Surgery

More than 250 patients are expected to turn out to support Greenwood Surgery in South Woodham Ferrers, which Dr John Cormack says is the most underfunded practice of its type in the NHS.

He told Heart: "It goes without saying that this puts a question mark over the future of the surgery - at present, having exceeded our £25,000 overdraft we have had to ask the bank to increase it to £30,000.

"Far from being able to draw a 'salary' last month and the month before, I've had to pay in a 4 figure sum in order that we stay solvent and the staff are paid.

"Even in a practice which is very dependent on our excellent team of nurses and healthcare assistants, it is still necessary to have a doctor as part of the team."

Sheila Bremner, Chief Executive of NHS North Essex said: "The funding for general medical services is based on the terms of a well-established contract agreed nationally with GPs and their representatives. The national formula is based on the number of registered patients, their age and other factors such as deprivation. It is designed to ensure a fair funding system for practices with greater health needs.

"Given the national formula, there is absolutely no discrimination against the practice and its patients by the PCT.

"The PCT has regularly answered Dr Cormack's queries about the funding for his practice over recent years. We have gone to some lengths to explain that the practice is receiving the allocation to which it is legally entitled. We have in the past funded an independent practice manager to support the practice in completing a business review to make sure that the practice is receiving the correct reimbursement for all its services and to identify where there may be opportunities to secure other income."

Patients and staff carrying banners or placards will head to Downing Street this afternoon (Saturday 22 October) to hand in a petition calling for more funding.

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