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Talks to tackle 'LIFT or nothing' policy

The Department of Health has indicated that LIFT may not be the ideal solution for all practices to improve their premises and other options are being investigated.

Talks have begun between the GPC and Partnerships for Health, the department-owned body that runs LIFT, with the aim of setting out other possible premises solutions.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, said: 'There seems to be some recognition that this is an issue around premises but there is still a long way to go.

'There is no question of any money available at the moment but they are saying LIFT might not be enough. They want to work with us to facilitate something – a way forward.'

Dr Peter Holden, GPC negotiator, said one of the issues the GPC wanted to tackle was the 'LIFT or nothing' view held by many PCTs.

He warned that problems with premises identified in a BMA survey last May would 'seriously hamper' plans for GPs to expand their role as part of the move to provide more care in the community.

Dr Russell Walshaw, North Lincolnshire LMC secretary and a member of the GPC's practice finance committee, which has responsibility for premises, called for a strategy to ensure that money for premises was spent in the most efficient way.

He said trusts should consider schemes other than large third-party finance initiatives and criticised 'exclusivity clauses' that tie some PCTs into giving LIFT companies first option.

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