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'Disappearing deal' on premises cash sparks anger among GPs

GPs have attacked the Government over premises funding, arguing the shortfalls have already prevented the development of services.

The news came as the GPC said it was about to enter into negotiations with the NHS Confederation on extra funding as fears grew of a 'disappearing deal'.

Last week the Department of Health declared there would be no more money for premises this year, after the announcement of just £15 million extra to pay for improvements that were not agreed by September 30, 2003.

GPC chair Dr John Chis-holm told the Scottish

LMCs conference: 'In England there seems to have been a bit of a disappearing deal and that is a matter we are about to take into negotiations with the confederation.'

But LMCs and grassroots GPs said the shortfall was preventing them from moving surgeries or upgrading their premises.

Dr Ian Hume, Norfolk LMC chair, said plans for his practice to move into bigger premises had been in limbo for 18 months because of doubts over funding.

'The biggest problem is we don't know what the PCT's policy is and how much

money they've got,' he told Pulse.

'We are building a new practice because of lack of space. We have to juggle around with rooms and we haven't been able to expand with other health care professionals.'

Wigan GP Dr Jim Griess has wanted to move for more than two years, as his 2.5-partner practice with 7,500 patients has no room to house a GP registrar or extra nurse.

'It's slightly frustrating as we are a busy practice and

we could really make life a lot easier with a bigger practice. We'd love to become a training practice but have nowhere to put the registrar,' he said.

Swindon LMC chair Dr

Peter Swinyard said this year's premises funding for Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Avon was around £300,000-£400,000.

'That doesn't even buy a surgery, let alone allow for improvements or premises flexibility,' he said.

By Jacqueline Head

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