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Over 1,000 practices awarded share of £190m fund to upgrade premises

Over 1,000 GP practices across the country have had bids approved for funding in principle from a total of £190 million being invested directly into premises projects during 2015/16, NHS England said.

Among them, two GP practices are in line for investment worth £5m each from the funding, which was first announced in the chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

A further 32 projects – some of which involve multiple practices – have been given between £1.1m and £5m, while 48 are getting between £501,000 to £1m.

Just over 300 projects will receive between £100,000 to £500,000, while 328 will receive less than £100,000.

NHS England said the projects approved were both for new buildings and improvements to existing buildings and aimed at increasing space so that the practices could offer more appointments or care for more frail elderly out of hospital.

As previously reported, applicants for the money had to show the extent to which the investment would increase patient contact time and help reduce emergencies for the over 75s.

NHS England had also said it would prioritise existing bids for the first tranch.

NHS England’s announcement said: ‘The funding will help to improve their premises to benefit both patients and professionals working in primary care – either through making improvements to existing buildings or through the creation of new ones. It will also help practices to harness technology and give practices the space to offer more appointments and improved care for the frail elderly in the community – essential in supporting the reduction of hospital admissions.

‘A £190m investment will be made in 2015/16 with additional funding going towards improving IT, through the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund.’

Although no detail was provided on the proposed projects to be undertaken by the practices, the largest amount of funding, over £5m each, has been awarded to Practice One based in Bridlington in east Yorkshire and the Bolton Community Practice in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the GPC, welcomed the investment and said it was a result of GPC campaigning over the past 12 months.

He said: ‘The 1,000 practices who will be receiving grants through this year’s Primary Care Infrastructure Fund will be the first beneficiaries of this campaign and their successful applications are a significant step forward.

‘However there is still a long way to go before all GP facilities are fit for purpose to provide patients with the level of service they need, including the kind of out of hospital care envisaged in the Five Year Forward View.’

Already, £10m from the infrastructure fund has been allocated to the 10-point GP workforce plan.