News & Media

Welcome steps to help GPs on premises – but longer strides still needed

21.03.2018

Help for GPs to access government funding to improve surgery buildings and a national review of primary care premises are among the changes included in this year’s GP contract deal.

The changes, announced yesterday by NHS England, set out that improvement grants like the Estates and Technology Transformation Fund can now be used to fund up to 100% of the cost of schemes by practices to make existing surgery buildings bigger or better. Funds still can’t be used for new development schemes, but can now be used to buy land for an extension.

The deal also announces a review of primary care premises across England, starting this summer – to ensure they’re fit for purpose for the future and value for money, and to provide better data on the overall estate. The BMA says recommendations from the review will help address remaining questions on premises cost directions, and inform future negotiations on premises.

Our Head of Development, Simon Gould, says: “Improving GP premises around the country so that they have the space, layout and facilities they need to deliver primary care for the future is a mammoth task, and it will rely upon a range of funding options. Allowing funds like ETTF to support the full cost of improvement schemes is a change that will be welcomed by GPs, as will the move to look at the state of premises as a whole to assess the estate’s capability to deliver expanded access to general practice, to accommodate a bigger workforce and a wider range of services away from hospital.

“However, practices will be disappointed that grant funding is still limited to improvement projects rather than new development, and there remains a need to ensure STPs, CCGs and GPs have access to clear information on the range of options available to fund premises work and to create the buildings which patients and staff deserve.”