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GP premises cash drop in the ocean

GPC negotiators have criticised the Government for not giving redevelopment of GPs' premises a high enough priority in the new contract revisions.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, said the £132 million extra promised for 2006/7 was a 'drop in the ocean'.

Far more was needed to merely to bring the GP estate to an acceptable standard to provide existing services, let alone offer more hospital services in primary care settings, he added.

An average 'modern' four-doctor practice required 2,000 sq m of space, compared with the current average of 380-450 sq m, Dr Meldrum said.

He added that the GPC was still investigating whether the £108 million the Government promised for premises for 2004/5 had actually been spent by PCTs.

'It's better than nothing but I never lose the opportunity to tell the Government if they want primary care to thrive and take on more work they need the infrastructure.'

Fellow negotiator Dr Peter Holden said the problem was compounded by the fact that the premises cash was not recurrent. Recurrent funding would give GPs the security of knowing they could take out a long-term loan.

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