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More than half of practices in south Worcestershire are to get new premises after their PCT pulled off a deal with the Government to ensure rents for the next three years.

The trust also struck a deal with Wychavon council to fund the building of a new community hospital and GP surgery using a windfall from the sale of council houses.

The deals mean 13 schemes, including two community hospitals, will now be built. Some 17 out of the area's 31 practices will benefit.

South Worcestershire PCT will lease the premises back from the council for a 20-year term.

David Barlow, chair of South Worcestershire PCT, said the windfall had been 'heaven sent' following years of under-investment.

The programme had nearly been 'scuppered' when the Government decided to cash-limit revenue funding, he added.

Dr Robert Ingles, Worcestershire LMC chair, said the money had only been secured after a 'very ugly' battle.

'A lot of work has been done ­ but I don't think it's something in which the NHS bathes itself in glory.'

He added: 'One swallow doesn't make a summer. There are anxieties as to whether the cottage hospitals will be appropriately located and sized.'

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