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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Jobs crisis highlighted by plight of 6,000-list GP

Your article on cramped GP premises (News, February 19) ably demonstrates the plight of GP-owned premises which are now totally neglected by the Government.

Our practice has grown in the last five years and our patients now stand out on the roadside to wait their turn (at least in summer) as the waiting room gets too cramped. Finally, after a series of appeals and a lapse of nearly two years, we got the planning permission to expand our waiting room.

Unfortunately, when we went to the PCT for help, the chief executive, though in favour, said the PCT could not allocate anything as its hands were tied by the Government.

The Department of Health has explained that the monies are allocated to strategic health authorities which appoint a lead PCT to sub-allocate to needy practices.

The partners at the practice have now given up any hope of help and have finally decided to go for a personal bank loan.

Is this the Government's response to GPs who are doing their best to improve the level of patient care from their own premises? In reality all monies are being allocated to LIFT projects to build mini-cottage hospitals. Do they not realise that many patients have no wish for health centres far away from their homes – however plush they may be?

Ministers should look at the problems of GP-owned premises more closely.

Surjit Kumar

Practice Manager, London E4

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