In a letter for publication to the Daily Telegraph, GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman responded to accusations from the newspaper that the scheme was ‘secretive’ and allowed GPs to ‘pocket windfalls running into millions of pounds from their surgeries’.
The article published on Monday in the Daily Telegraph, in collaboration with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, claimed doctors 'are permitted to buy buildings for their surgeries which are then 'rented' back to the DoH, often for far more than the mortgage repayments’.
In his letter Dr Buckman said that the scheme is not ‘secret’ and without it the government would not have been able to afford enough GP surgeries.
‘No government could afford to buy all the buildings it would need to house the 44,000 GPs who work for it,’ Dr Buckman wrote.
Dr Buckman said that buying premises was not without its risks.
‘There are also substantial costs involved for GPs in maintaining, and expanding, their surgeries and GPs take on that financial risk themselves.’
Dr Buckman said that GPs bought premises in order to provide a better service for their patients.
He wrote: ‘One of the positives about GPs buying their own premises is that it means they have a long-term commitment to both the practice and the surrounding community.
‘It also means patients benefit from the continuity of having the same GP in their surgery for all of their professional working life,’ Dr Buckman said.
'Rental values are also independently valued by HM Revenue and Customs officers to ensure they are fair,' he continued.