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Limehouse GPs in A13 traffic island protest over NHS funding cuts

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 March 2015 | UPDATED: 09:31 19 March 2015

East London campaigners picketted Downing Street at previous protest last year

East London campaigners picketted Downing Street at previous protest last year

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Doctors join NHS campaigners in a street protest today (Thurs) over budget cuts to surgeries in London's deprived East End.

The impact of last year’s changes to GP contracts will disproportionately hit deprived areas like the East End, the GPs argue.

Tower Hamlets alone loses an estimated £20 million in primary care funding over the next seven years.

“We’re urging the NHS to stop these cuts so that surgeries like ours don’t have to close,” Limehouse Practice GP Naureen Bhatti said. “Our patients don’t want to lose the doctors they trust, or have to travel to see a GP.”

Many local practices may be forced to close and the remaining surgeries will have to lose doctors and nurses, or offer fewer appointments and cut services. This adds pressure on hospital A&Es and pushes more primary care specialists into early retirement, campaigners point out.

Local GP and health researcher Dr Kambiz Boomla said: “Illness and the need for a GP depends not on how far you are away from your birth, but on how close you are to death.

“People aged 50 to 69 from poorer areas need to consult their GP twice as often as people from affluent areas.

“Older people in Tower Hamlets are also much more likely to be suffering long-term health conditions.”

Seven-out-of-10 people in the East End are among the most deprived in the country, having to visit their GPs more often, which campaigners say means the primary care workload is a third greater than current funding allows for under the present NHS formula used for GP contracts.

The protesting GPs, patients and medical workers meet at 2pm on a traffic island at the Limehouse junction where the Burdett Road meets the A13 East India Dock Road.

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