GPs lose thousands in vaccine pay shock
Dr Robert Cullen is reluctantly planning to get the flaking white paint above the entrance to his single-story surgery touched up.
He had left it because he expected his practice in Dymchurch to be moving to new state-of-the-art premises.
But the proposal to merge his five-partner practice's two sites on the south Kent coast, which serve a catchment area of 60 square miles, has been scuppered by Shepway PCT.
'The plan was to centralise in the middle of the practice area to one large, modern, fully equipped surgery; on the main road and with lots of parking,' he says.
'Last September we put in our proposals and they were enthusiastic. But then they said ''no, we can't support it''.
'So we're stuck in two purpose-built surgeries that are both over 25 years old and too small.'
The PCT used the excuse that people would have to travel too far to the new site, Dr Cullen says. But he believes this was a screen for the real reason that it cannot afford to cover the rent.
'We feel we've been obstructed and I am concerned there was a financial reason,' he says. 'We were going to fund it and build it ourselves. We'd done our figures and it seemed to work out. But obviously the rent on one central surgery would be more than the two we have now.'
Dr Cullen blames his plight on the shortage of Government money for premises funding and has written to Health Secretary John Reid to complain.
One partner has already left because of frustration at the delays and at having to work in cramped surroundings. Dr Cullen says most of the other GPs are 'fed up' as well.
'There's room swapping and sharing. We've got a cancer service that's been expanded, but there's no room so that's had to go outside the surgery.'