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GPC to investigate government premises fund

5 November 2015

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GPs are being surveyed by the British Medical Association’s General Practice Committee (GPC) in a bid to unveil the government’s progress on premises improvements.

In December last year the £1 billion Primary care transformation fund was launched by NHS England, in a widely-publicised scheme to upgrade general practice facilities. Then, in March, the first supported bids for investments were announced.

However, the GPC are unsure “whether GP practices are seeing any benefits from the Government’s Primary care investment fund” and want to “get to the bottom of it”, Brian Balmer, GPC lead on GP premises, said.

He added: “This was a much publicised scheme, which was supposed to address decades of under investment in GP facilities. A major BMA survey [last year] found that four out of 10 practices were struggling to provide even basic care because of inadequate buildings while seven out of 10 felt they had no scope to expand their services.”

It comes after NHS England last week said the funding criteria of the scheme will change, meaning that GPs will need to meet the criteria and then get clinical commissioning group (CCG) sign-off in order to access the funding.

For 2016/7, in order for GPs to get the funding they will be assessed on the following criteria: increased capacity for primary care services out of hospital, a commitment to a wider range of services to reduce unplanned admissions to hospital, improving seven-day access to effective care and increased training capacity.

The GPC described this alteration as “unacceptable” and the survey aims to establish “a true picture of the state of GP premises and give voice to the concerns of thousands of GPs about this faltering programme,” Balmer said.

Complete the survey here