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Push for GP Surgery Premises Development
Dr Mike Bewick, GP and Deputy Medical Director for NHS England, has said NHS England is expecting many practices to apply for grants once the round of CQC inspections are completed. Pulse also revealed that NHS England had put the vast majority of GP premises investment on hold while it develops a ‘consistent’ national process to evaluate bids for funding.
After staffing, premises is probably one of the largest issues for Practices. A limited number of strategically important developments are apparently still being planned for a small group of GP Practices and a national framework is currently being developed to evaluate bids for funding.
Will Current Premises Meet Minimum Standards?
Unsurprisingly any revenue reserves for Primary Care were not ring fenced in 2013/2014 however Local Area Teams are undertaking an audit to review premises development bids which are already within the premises pipeline. These are either business cases for GP premises developments inherited from PCTs, or new business cases received by area teams since April 2013. GPC negotiators are stepping up their campaign for more investment in GP premises this year and will demand NHS England stump up at least £250m to improve surgeries across the country.
Now that care is being moved out of hospitals and into Primary Care, as detailed in NHS England’s Call to Action campaign, it will be almost impossible to meet each business case unless additional resources are invested in GP premises. New services cannot be implemented if premises do not meet the minimum standards and this could considerably affect GP Practices wishing to apply to provide services under the Any Qualified Provider (AQP) route.
Show Us the Money
GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul is right in saying that there now needs to be firm actions from the numerous and ongoing premises funding discussions. Investment in GP Practices needs to happen very soon if they are to meet those standards and expectations to provide local patient services and quality care. With rent abatement a new and contentious issue for some Practices those services being moved from secondary care and offered to primary care should include the necessary premises costs. Quotes from local firms to redecorate and carry out minor repairs in our Practice had been surprisingly higher than expected. We have made some significant improvements to our premises in the last 3 years and there is still so much more we would like to do but we cannot afford to undertake any further improvements for the foreseeable future and hope that what we do have in place is sufficient to provide future services.