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'Move to LIFT building or firm will take space'

By Pulse reporters

Five practices that are refusing to move into an NHS LIFT-funded surgery could see their future threatened by a private firm invited to take up the space.

GPs have snubbed the development in Accrington, Lancashire, which is designed to house six practices, because they are not being offered the full value for their current premises.

Hyndburn and Ribble Valley PCT has said it can only afford to offer GPs open market value. But for one practice, this means its premises would fetch only £540,000 compared with an existing use valuation of £732,500.

GPs have also cited a steep rise in maintenance and utility costs and 'impersonal' working arrangements in a large surgery as reasons to stay put.

But the PCT, which had already asked independent pro-viders to tender to offer GP services from the centre, has now threatened to give the successful bidder more space if the local GPs not relent.

A recent document from the PCT stated: 'the availability of additional space may allow the successful bidder to increase the patient list size over and above that already planned.'

GPs have so far remained unmoved by the threat.

Dr P K Joseph said the new centre would be like 'an Indian railway station ­ it will be full of people everywhere, it will be mayhem'.

Dr Murthy Motupalli, whose surgery is less than half a mile away from the proposed site, said he would have less independence and lose income from rent if he moved. 'Money is being drained from the NHS and I have to pay for that.'

Dr Arthur Manuel, a GP at the Myrtle House surgery, said: 'We are quite happy with the set-up we have here.'

He added: 'The aim was to get all doctors in one place. That is not going to happen, they will have to get salaried doctors to fill the space.'

Dr Thomas Manjooran, a GP at the one practice planning to move, said he faced a three-fold increase in costs and utility bills. He said: 'This is putting a lot of practices off.'

Final approval for the new surgery is due by the end of May, with work due to be completed in December.

Hyndburn and Ribble Valley PCT did not respond to our requests for comment.

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