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Dixon: CCGs need ‘fighting fund’ to develop GP premises

CCGs should be given a pot of money to develop GP premises redeployed from secondary care budgets, NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon has proposed.

Dr Dixon said GP premises funding was ‘not fit for purpose’ as CCGs are tasked with transferring care out of hospitals and into the community, instead, he argued that it was necessary to make the decision making on GP premises more local by handing power to CCGs.

He said this could include the setting up of a ‘fighting fund’ - at least in part - funded with cash drawn from secondary care budgets that CCGs could tap into when transferring services into the community.

It comes as Pulse revealed that NHS England has put the vast majority of GP premises investment on hold pending a review of existing bids. And, earlier this year, the GPC said NHS England must invest at least £250m in premises this year or ‘forget’ shifting care to general practice.

Dr Dixon said: ‘The current system for developing premises to look after patients outside hospital is not fit for purpose and threatening to slow down much needed NHS reforms.

‘The development of a sustainable NHS depends upon moving services out of hospital, wherever possible and appropriate, and providing them in communities, which will mean better treatment for patients at lower cost. This can only be done, however, if the NHS can provide buildings and facilities for doing so.’

‘The dreadful irony at present is that, at a time when it is most important we have systems and money for investment in primary care premises, the development of primary care premises has all but ground to a halt.

‘Decisions and money for development of GP and primary care premises are virtually at a standstill. There is real bias in the system against primary care in favour of specialist treatment in hospitals.’

In a statement, the NHS Alliance said: ‘There needs to be a “fighting fund” that the new CCGs can access in order to develop new primary care premises. In as much as primary care will be taking over roles previously done by secondary care, it would only be logical for this… to be at least partly funded by unused capital from the secondary care sector.’

Readers' comments (3)

  • Keith Taylor

    Many Primary Care premises are already bursting at the seams and without investment the required shift of services from Secondary Care is just not possible. Surely it's time for the funding tap to be turned back on!

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  • I agree Keith, I have been in a number of practices where they are bursting at the seams and can't resolve the situation because they can't get the funding they need.

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  • How about this for something novel. As a private sector business working under contract to the NHS, why don't practices try and borrow the money from a bank to extend the premises they own. Then pay the money back thanks to the extra income they are making as a result.

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