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GPs go forth

NHS England asks GPs to propose ‘solutions’ to premises problems

NHS England has launched an open call for GPs to propose solutions to issues concerning GP practice premises.

The consultation, which opened 8 August and closes 5 September, forms part of the ongoing six-month review of GP premises by NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the BMA's GP Commitee.

The review, which was born from the 2018/19 GP contract negotiations, followed the long-awaited agreement on new premises cost directions in March.

Launching the consultation, NHS England said 'suitable premises are vital for the delivery of high quality care', with the review intended to ensure GP premises are 'fit for purpose, both now and in the future'.

It said the review could result in solutions for 'specific issues' as well as 'more significant system reconfiguration'.

The review will look at ownership models, funding and contracting and the utilisation of premises.

But NHS England added: 'As we cannot assume that additional funding will be available, we would like to explore cost-neutral proposals, and those which yield efficiencies.'

It said barriers already raised in the review included:

  • concerns with GP partner liabilities for practice premises ownership or leasehold (so-called 'last partner standing' issues);
  • a perception that premises ownership is unattractive and puts GPs off from partnership;
  • 'sub-optimal utilisation' of existing estate; and
  • problems with promoting 'mixed use' of new premises due to concerns about liability between the different parties involved.

The recent agreement on premises cost directions between GPC and the Government mean GP practices can now be reimbursed 100% of costs of upgrades under the Estates and Technology Transformation Fund (ETTF).

However they did not present a solution to the problem of  six-figure service charge hikes faced by practices.

Link to NHS England's consultation

Readers' comments (6)

  • It's fairly simple, there are 2 options:

    1 - NHS England sign any lease and are responsible for the lease, even if the GP surgery closes. There is no paying the GP partners and the partners paying the landlord etc.

    2 - At the point a lease is signed, NHS England signs up to cover the cost of the lease for the entire duration of the lease. That contract is directly between the names on the lease and NHS England, meaning that if the GP surgery closes, NHS England must still pay the individuals for the lease of the building.

    Problem solved.

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  • This is not a problems for us to solve,it is a problem for the'brains' at NHSE to solve.After over a decade of subinflation rate increases in funding,reduced pensions, increased workload and decreasing respect,they can just take a running jump.When our lease ends it will not be renewed.There are no new GPs coming along to carry on.The excecutive need to come up with solutions and fast or they will have no system to manage.Idiots!

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  • Socialism

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  • The root of the problem is the glaringly obvious long term under-investment in the GP contract. Workforce pipeline and perceived building ownership or lease risks are linked. Not only do GPs risk manage the health of their populations and the gateway to the rest of the NHS but they have risk managed a large chunk of NHS used estate. Make general practice a great place to be, rewarded well for what it does with visible future investment and many GPs could continue to manage the NHS's risks well and some may even be tempted to join and remain in the system. A cost neutral solution is no solution at all and simply emphasises the political double standard of investing massively in our hospital sector whilst neglecting primary care.

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  • They know the solution but do not want to hear it. More investment. Nothing is free in this world. Today the government just realised this with prisons.1st class service need 1st class funding and running.

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    Sure there will be a magic fountain of funding when a private provider turns up to pick up the pieces..
    or do the government hope share holders will take the losses like with trains

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