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We need to do more on GP premises investment, admits NHS England

NHS England’s director of primary care has said progress in delivering the £1bn investment promised to transform GP premises and IT has not been fast enough.

Speaking at the RCGP’s Annual Conference in Liverpool this month, NHS England director of primary care Dr Arvind Madan said there was now a ‘pipeline of investment’ with hundreds of projects completed, underway, or in due diligence.

But he said there were concerns over the way the flagship ‘Estates and Technology Transformation Fund’, which pledged to spend £250m per year to deliver a permanent improvement in GP infrastructure, was rolled out.

Dr Madan told delegates that he was ‘surprised to hear’ 750 schemes have already been completed with ETTF funding with ‘another 169 in progress, and 657 in due diligence’.

These figures only apply for the 2015/16 and 2016/17 years.

Dr Madan added: ‘We are creating a pipeline of investment in estates and technology within primary care and general practice.

‘We need to do more, and we need to do it faster and I accept there have been issues with the way that programme has been rolled out. But actually we are working very fast to resolve those issues.’

The ETTF was delayed in its first year with millions in pledged funding rescinded after NHS England changed the terms of funding after practices had already submitted bids.

Pulse revealed in February that only 5% of the funding had been spent on premises so far.