Anger over [Pounds Sterling]113-a-Head Subsidy for GP Practice at Palace

Article excerpt

Byline: Brendan Carlin

A DOCTORS' surgery solely for the use of the Queen's staff in BuckinghamPalace is being given twice as much NHS funding per patient as ordinary GPpractices.

The clinic caters for fewer than 300 live-in members of the Royal Household -including footmen, maids and butlers - compared to an average of more than6,000 patients for regular GP surgeries.

The Queen and the rest of the Royal Family use a separate set of doctors.

The extra funding came to light in a survey of 675 GP practices by the onlinemagazine Health Service Journal..

'It's a ridiculously small and exclusive surgery' It revealed that this yearthe Buckingham Palace surgery was due to get about [pounds sterling]31,000 in National HealthService funding allocations and 'minimum practice income guarantee' -equivalent to [pounds sterling]113 for each of its 276 patients.

This compared with an average of [pounds sterling]63 per patient across all of the doctors'surgeries surveyed.

Since the introduction of new GP contracts in 2004, the surgery has more thandoubled its annual income from the NHS. Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay demanded inParliament an explanation as to why members of the Royal Household meritedtheir own doctors' practice inside Buckingham Palace.

'I fail to see the justification for this practice,' Mr Mackinlay said lastnight.

'It's a ridiculously small surgery and it's small because it's exclusive. …