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GP surgeries set to receive £1bn windfall

The Treasury is set to invest £1 billion to ‘modernise’ GP surgeries over four years as part of an overall £2bn investment in the NHS, chancellor George Osborne has said.

Mr Osborne told the BBC that the money, which is derived from huge fines slapped on misbehaving banks, will be invested in tranches over a four-year period, and is intended to lead to a ‘permanent improvement’ in GP services.

It is intended to support NHS England’s five-year view, which outlined plans for GP surgeries to grow and employ specialists, as well as hospitals employing GPs.

There is little information about how practices will receive the money as yet, but health secretary Jeremy Hunt is set to make a further statement in Parliament today.

The BBC reported that a new fund will make £300m a year available (£250m in England and the rest in the devolved nations), totalling £1.2bn over four years. The BBC reported that this was new money for GPs to ‘invest in their facilities and develop a wider range of care and treatment outside hospitals’.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Mr Osborne said he had met with NHS chief executive Simon Stevens the previous day, and that the £2 billion announced for the NHS is a down payment on NHS England’s five-year plan, as announced last month in the Five Year Forward View.

Mr Osborne said: ‘Because we have a strong economy and we’ve got the public finances under control, we can afford to put £2 billion into the frontline of the NHS across the UK.

‘I can tell you we can go further and use those fines that have been paid by the banks for a permanent improvement in GP services.

‘This is a down-payment on the NHS’s own long-term plan and it shows you can have a strong NHS if you have a strong economy.’

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul warmly welcomed the announcement.

He said: ‘The chancellor’s announcement could, if delivered properly and in co-operation with GPs, begin to tackle the problems facing GP premises. This is something that GPC have pushed hard for and is built on the guarantee we secured during our recent contract negotiations where the government committed to developing a specific strategy for GP premises.

‘We will now seek to work with NHS England to ensure this funding is spent appropriately and to begin to enable GPs and their staff to work in fit for purpose facilities, while we continue to point out other pressing issues, including unsustainable workload and the growing workforce crisis in general practice.’

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘We know times are tight, but the economy is now growing. Sustaining a high quality health service in the years ahead will therefore require both challenging new efficiencies and genuine new investment. That’s the case I’ve been making on behalf of the NHS to government, and today they’ve listened and responded with the funding we need for next year to sustain frontline NHS services and kick-start transformation.’

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Readers' comments (23)

  • "Modernise" what? Buildings? Equipment? IT? Furniture? Receptionists' uniform? And how "modernising" will solve the recruitment problem?

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  • Georgy, could you please name the elite Surgeries who are going to get this 'windfall' and the ones which are always condemned to only a 'fall' - like mine with it's second class citizens in Strood who pay equal taxes like other British nationals but have allocated 55-60 pounds per year for their care.

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  • And yes,,, the rent reimbursement in 1995 was higher than it is today despite an increase in list size of 1500 since then. It is explained to us by the PCA that this 'underfunding' is 'historical' so nothing can be done about it. Would you confirm that if the society has been feudal in some areas, it is bound to remain as it is despite your pledges to improve things and make up for any shortcomings. We are talking of Marlowe Park Medical Centre in Strood ME2 2PW.

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  • This windfall completely ignores the root issues of too much demand and not enough supply. Reduce the amount of people coming into the country and make General Practice an attractive job for aspiring doctors..and let's remember it takes 10 years to train a GP. Where are they coming from ??

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  • Finally, some rays of sunshine poking through the gloom.

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  • Strings attached and puppets dancing to HMG tune
    " Open all Hours " Foreign Office George.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Well predicted.
    Still , it is about trust and credibility how this money will be used.
    If you trust the politicians, it is good news.......?

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  • UNLESS they pay money to employ more gp's and staff , nothing will change. bring back basic practice allowance and do not touch mpig

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  • Una Coales

    Take away £20 billion and give back £2 billion. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5524693/NHS-chief-tells-trusts-to-make-20bn-savings.html Um I can do basic maths. The NHS is still underfunded by £18 BILLION, that's £18,000 million pounds!

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  • Una Coales

    Wonder why they closed A&E departments in High Wycombe, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith hospitals, just to name a few? The NHS was tasked with £20 BILLION efficiency savings between 2011-14, or in layman's terms, cuts, cuts, cuts and that's why MPIG went even though the government 'promised' they would never take this away from GP surgeries...

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