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Nearly three quarters of GPs cannot house ARRS staff, survey finds

by Jess Hacker
31 March 2023

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Nearly three quarters (72.8%) of GPs do not have the space to house their additional roles staff, according to a survey by our sister title Pulse PCN.

The poll of nearly 200 GPs including PCN clinical directors showed that around half (46.2%) strongly agreed and 26.5% agreed that estates were an immediate issue for their practice.

It comes as health secretary Steve Barclay is expected to publish a ‘primary care recovery plan’ in the coming weeks that would reportedly include investment in estates.

One respondent said that GP estates are currently ‘totally inadequate’, suggesting that funding from the Network DES should be streamed through the core GP contract leaving GPs able to spend it at their discretion – including on premises.

Others said that the lack of space on site to base their ARRS staff – which can include pharmacists or social prescribers – prevented them from making the most of the additional roles.

The total cost of running the NHS estate between April 2021 and March 2022 stood at £11.1 billion, according to NHS Digital, with the total cost to eradicate the backlog reaching £10.2 billion.

And around 5,348 clinical service incidents were caused by estates or infrastructure failure in 2021/22.

This week it was revealed that ARRS funding will not be used to offset rising practice costs amid high inflation under the new contract, as the balancing mechanism has been permanently removed.

GPs had previously argued that, if implemented, it could leave practices and networks out of pocket.

However, in a BMA GPC England webinar last week updating members on the latest about the contract changes coming into effect in April, it was revealed the arrangement would be removed permanently.

The survey was conducted from 12 February to 5 March.

A version of this story was first published by our sister title Pulse.