'Urgent investment needed for GP Premises'

Author: Jo Carlowe

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GP leaders have written to the prime minister this week urging him to prioritise investment in primary care in the next spending review.

The letter, signed by Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) GP Committee, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), along with Dr Peter Swinyard, national chairman of the Family Doctor Association, Dr Minesh Patel, chair of the National Association of Primary Care, and Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warned that the poor state of GP premises was putting patient safety at risk.

“We agree that premises should be a priority for your government and ask that, alongside your commitment to hospital modernisation, there must also be an urgent commitment to support investment in general practice and community care premises such as community nursing and mental health services for children and adults, which are fundamental to the success of the NHS Long Term Plan,” stated the letter to prime minister Boris Johnson.

The letter continued: “GP premises have been underfunded over a number of years leading to a decline in provision available and a situation where safe, timely patient care is being put at risk. This situation is compounded by an overall lack of infrastructure investment, policies of converting health capital budgets into revenue, and delays by NHS England in providing updated Premises Cost Directions (PCDs) which provide the policy framework setting out how premises costs incurred by GP practices are reimbursed and how other funding, such as for premises improvements are delivered.”

The letter followed the recent announcement from prime minister Boris Johnson of an extra £1.8bn in funding for NHS projects, including over £110m for primary care.

A survey by the BMA has shown that only half of practices considered their premises to be fit for present needs, falling to just over two in 10 practices when asked if they thought their premises were fit for the future.

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