coming your way
I was interested in your story 'GPs' premises plans dashed as PCTs use cash to cover deficits' (News, September 17) as Dr Paul Roblin is the secretary of our LMC.
We are in a similar position. Last September representatives from Thames Valley SHA/South West Oxon PCT met with our manager and I and we were told monies were available for expansion of our premises, built 28 years ago to house seven GPs and a registrar and now holding 11 GPs and a registrar/NPs/PNs/health care assistants and a treatment room nurse, as well as playing host to midwives and a counsellor!
We therefore said 'go ahead on our behalf as you suggest'. We wished to move into the floor above which was due to be vacated last January, so allowing our admin to go upstairs, the PCT to house all DNs and HVs on one site and so free up more consulting/ clinical space on the ground floor.
We heard nowt. So when we inquired early this year we were told the Department of Health had changed the rules on funding, and although there was money to cover the new floor's rent, the money available in 2004 to update the ground floor had gone.
A few months ago we were told, as per Dr Roblin's comments, that the SHA and PCT's primary duty was to balance their books (not to ensure care for patients!) and the money had gone to prop up one part of the SHA.
How any GP in any practice is meant to keep up to date premises-wise when the rules change so swiftly to deal with financial incompetence/hospital overspends etc, I have no idea. Let alone anyone telling us last year when there were funds available to strike while the iron is hot by making a firm commitment (when we were still in the shadows as to when/how any changes could be done as we are tenants) and then not telling us until the rules had been changed it beggars belief.
We have paid out for architect's plans etc but are still waiting on the council, our landlords, to say if they will 'rentalise' the costs as the PCT has no money to make the structural changes needed to the ground floor!
I am sure others are in similar situations. Seems the NHS is broke to me.
Dr Frank Debney, Abingdon