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'Move to LIFT building or PCTs will use firms'

PCTs in London are being ordered to bring in alternative providers if GPs refuse to move into expensive new NHS LIFT-funded premises.

A report from North East London strategic health authority tells trusts to 'consider alternatives to current contractors... where local GP commitment is deemed to be weak'.

Managers have also been instructed to bring in firms and other providers if they have 'concerns about the capabilities of GPs to meet long-term strategic requirements'.

The report, which aims to improve the value for money from LIFT, blames GPs' demands for guaranteed reimbursement of rent, stamp duty and legal costs for holding up developments.

While PCTs must consider such demands, it said, they also need to have 'due regard for their financial position'.

Trusts must 'explore procurement options involving APMS' unless GPs make a firm commitment to move.

The threats come in addition to demands that GPs in the region must 'hot desk' if they want to move to new premises.

Practices have also been told they must open 12 hours a day during the week and from nine until five on Saturdays and share any new building with

organisations such as social

services.

GPs have condemned the high-pressure policies, arguing that although premises in the area are in dire need of redevelopment, they need guarantees that they will not lose out financially by moving.

Dr Kambiz Boomla, chair of City and East London LMC, said the SHA report was an implicit attack on 100 per cent reimbursement of rent and rates.

He said: 'This is a dangerous road to go down. What we'd then have is the NHS being driven entirely by commercial principles. This would be a disaster.'

Dr Fay Wilson, secretary of several London LMCs, said

PCTs could not 'withdraw

existing funds from existing contractors'.

GPs said demands that

they hot desk were 'daft' and unworkable.

Dr Selahuri Shanugasan, chair of Tower Hamlets LMC, said 'They obviously fail to realise GPs have a ton of admin to do aside from surgeries.'

Andrew Ridley, director of primary care at Tower Hamlets PCT, said the new measures were designed to provide flexible working. GPs could do paperwork in a separate area to the consulting room, in order to get maximum utility from the premises, he added.

ahodgekiss@cmpi.biz

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