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System is against us

Name and address supplied

We are about to build new premises and have taken four years wading through red tape at PCT and strategic health authority level and with planning issues.

I can assure you that 'one of the barriers to building new premises is GPs' is untrue.

The main barrier is loss of notional rent and the obsession of the Government to own GP premises, either through LIFT or third-party developer, but the system

is stacked against GP ownership. For example, VAT is reclaimable via third-party developers but not by GPs who self-build.

There also appears to be considerable pressure on district valuers to set rents that are affordable to PCTs rather than setting a market rent.

We desperately need space and our preference has been to own if financially viable, so that when I want to change a light fitting or fire a cleaner I can do so, without paying a LIFT scheme heavy maintenance/repair costs, or having to go through endless PCT contracts managers to sort out the cleaner.

The whole aim of the Department of Health would almost appear to be to take control of GP premises, thus reducing the likelihood of the long-term survival of partnerships and the trend towards salaried doctors.

Had we started our scheme last year I have no doubt that GP ownership of the building would not now have been an option.

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