Time to act on premises
The inadequate state of many GPs' premises has been a fact of life in the NHS for decades.
Converted Victorian terraces, cramped shop fronts and stark prefabricated buildings have long blighted the primary care estate.
But, so GPs have been told, all this is being quickly consigned to the past. Massive investment, the NHS Lift scheme and extra contract 'flexibilities' are meant to be creating a shiny, bright new era.
Spacious super-surgeries, with all the facilities practices could want to cope with the increasing challenges of primary care, are popping up 'as quickly as new Tescos', ministers have claimed.
But the findings of our investigation this week reveal this
is all a facade. A lie.
Problem getting worse
The problem is getting worse. At least one in seven GP premises – well over 1,000 – is inadequate. This is up on official statistics from 2004/05.
There is barely any light at the end of the tunnel either. Planned new-builds or refurbishments in the next two years do not come close to the number of premises deemed unfit.
Improved access, practice-based commissioning, more work done in primary care not hospitals, care closer to home – every one of these key Government policies is dependent on decent GP premises.
And every one will fail unless ministers listen to GPs and invest the comparatively small amount – in revenue funding, not just capital – required to end this problem once and for all.