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300 practices to be given funding to improve premises and technology

Around 300 more GP practices are set to receive funding to improve their premises and technological infrastructure, NHS England has announced today.

Chief executive Simon Stevens told the National Association of Primary Care Annual Conference in Birmingham that 560 practices have already completed improvements to buildings and IT systems with help from the fund, a further 316 were in the process of making such improvements, and nearly 300 are now to receive funding subject to some outstanding checks.

He also said that £5m will be invested into paying the indemnity of GPs working in out-of-hours services and NHS 111 this winter.

The funding for premises is from the £1 billion fund originally announced by former chancellor George Osborne in December 2014 to improve existing GP premises, originally named the GP Infrastructure Fund.

However, Pulse has reported that a number of practices failed to receive funding that was due to them, while changes to the funding meant CCG sign-off was required for all schemes, which the GPC warned would lead to funding being ‘siphoned off’ in to other projects.

It has also faced a number of name changes, leading to its current title of ‘Estates and Technology Transformation Fund’ – which now incorporates changes to practices’ technology, as well as their buildings.

Mr Stevens announced the first tranche of practices today, all based in the Midlands. The remaining practices to receive the funding will be announced from the end of this month.

He said: ‘We had an issue with the physical infrastructure in which primary care is provided. We have too many buildings that are no longer appropriate for the range of services that are being provided in primary care and that are a limiting factor for the wider services that we want to see.

‘That’s one of the reasons why we kicked off the GP premises infrastructure fund. We have now funded 560 schemes, in the first tranche, which have been completed.’

An NHS England statement said: ‘In 2016/17, nearly 300 schemes will be supported, subject to due diligence checks. The first set of the 300 schemes unveiled for support in principle this year are in the Midlands and the East. Other schemes across the country will be published from the end of October. Further schemes are planned for future years.’