News & Media

General practice in the spotlight means premises must rise to the challenge


Focus on the role of primary care premises in Sir Robert Naylor’s review of the NHS estate, published today, is welcome recognition of their role in NHS transformation.

Sir Robert’s report calls for a new NHS property board to ‘take advantage’ of private sector investment, to ensure primary care facilities meet the vision of the Five Year Forward View.

Our CEO, Jonathan Murphy, says: “This analysis shows just how crucial it’s going to be to get the right primary care buildings, in the right places for patients if we’re serious about bringing care closer to home.

“Fit-for-purpose GP surgery buildings and primary care centres are critical for the changes STPs are trying to make, to give patients easier access to appointments and to bring services, tests and treatments out of hospitals into the community – and to keep them there for the future.

“There’s enormous potential here to help STPs move forward on their clearly considerable estates challenges, and – as Sir Robert recommends – to make sure they’re using private capital to its full potential to improve the primary care buildings in which patients are diagnosed and treated.

“The private sector stands ready to help create the primary care estate we’re going to need for the NHS of tomorrow; as Sir Robert’s review highlights, it is going to take significant funding, expertise and experience to support GPs with the premises on which transformation can be built.”

Sir Robert’s recommendations to help Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) ensure they have the estate, infrastructure and capital strategy they need to deliver, include:

  • A new NHS property board to be the ‘primary voice to the system on estates matters’
  • Ensuring primary care facilities meet the vision of the Five Year Forward View (5YFV). This should consider linking payments to the quality of facilities and greater use of fit for purpose standards. The NHS Property Board should support GPs to meet these standards, taking advantage of private sector investment.
  • Improved guidance on building standards, prioritising guidance for primary care facilities, so they support the Five Year Forward View and deliver value for money. This should gather evidence on the most appropriate estate models through the vanguards programme
  • Support for STPs to develop affordable estates and infrastructure plans, with an associated capital strategy, to deliver the 5YFV and address backlog maintenance
  • All national bodies should work together, sharing intelligence, to develop a robust capital investment plan for the NHS by summer 2017. This should maximise value for money and make a strong case for securing both the public and private investment the NHS needs
  • The requirement for an estimated £10bn of capital investment to deliver the transformation set out in STPs, to be met in part from the private sector.


It comes amid NHS England’s new report outlining next steps for the 5YFV, which include plans to dramatically increase evening and weekend GP appointments, to encourage practices to work together in networks or hubs and to grow the primary care workforce by 2020.

The report sets out new targets for access to general practice, encouraging surgeries to work more closely together and outlining plans to increase the numbers of GPs, clinical pharmacists, mental health therapists and physician associates working in primary care by 2020.