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GPs face wave of consolidation and closures says report

By Lilian Anekwe

GPs face a wave of consolidation and closures as a result of the Government's plans to transfer medical services from hospitals and secondary care to primary health services, according to property experts.

The prediction is contained in a research report, advising potential property investment companies looking to capitalise on new buildings such as the Darzi centres planned for every PCT.

The report adds that although Government policy is likely to mean many smaller surgeries facing closure, it is good news for property investors with banks regarding healthcare as a haven for the embattled property sector because of the steady stream of funding from the Government's charge to co-locate GPs with other providers.

Released by consultants Colliers CRE, the report predicts large scale consolidation of practices will be prompted by the increasing pressure to gain ‘critical mass' through increased patient lists.

It forecasts that: ‘There is likely to be consolidation of practices to gain more critical mass through size of patient lists, with the number of smaller practices likely to reduce as a result.'

It also warns that ‘a large proportion of premises were in need of upgrading or updating. The NHS Executive's refurbishment target of 55% was scheduled to be reviewed later this year while co-location with other service providers would require new buildings and bigger sites.'

But the outlook for budding property investors in health looks altogether more rosy, the report finds.

‘The credit crunch has not had a noticeable impact thus far, with banks generally considering healthcare properties to be a haven.

‘The Government is keen to transfer medical services from hospitals and secondary sources to primary healthcare services, where appropriate, whilst at the same time consolidating community services. As such, there is increasing demand for flexible quality primary care premises.'

Lord Darzi and Alan Johnson: their plans will see a wave of consolidation says report Lord Darzi and Alan Johnson: their plans will see a wave of consolidation says report

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