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GPC surveys GPs on the Government’s ‘underspend’ of the £1bn premises fund

The BMA is asking GP practices to fill in a survey to determine to what extent the Government’s £1bn premises fund is actually paying for GP premises upgrades.

NHS England has claimed that ‘over 1,000 practices’ had been awarded a share of a first £190m tranche but last week Pulse reported that practices have actually had millions of funding revoked.

The GPC executive lead on premises, Dr Brian Balmer, said BMA is launching the survey in response to concerns among ‘thousands of GPs’ over the ‘faltering’ programme, to ’get to the bottom of’ whether premises upgrades are actually being prioritised.

It comes as NHS England changed the terms of the scheme, which will see GPs having to gain CCG sign-off for meeting certain criteria, including increasing capacity for care out of hospital, increasing seven-day access and increasing training capacity.

Dr Balmer said:’This was a much publicised scheme which was supposed to address decades of under investment in GP facilities. Unfortunately, we have seen limited progress since the blaze of launch publicity. We are concerned that there will be a significant underspend in this programme and that actual spending on premises will be very disappointing.

’Last week we saw an unacceptable alteration in the funding criteria governing this programme which could result in its resources being raided to pay for other NHS England projects. This is both disingenuous and unacceptable behaviour. I would urge all GP practices to fill in this BMA survey so we can establish a true picture of the state of GP premises and give voice to the concerns of thousands of GPs about this faltering programme.’

A recent BMA survey of over 15,000 GPs found four in ten GP practices were struggling to provide basic care because of inadequate buildings, while seven out ot then said their premises did not allow them to expand the scope of their services.