Premises funding will be tough to find, Lansley warns GPs

Health secretary Andrew Lansley has said it is tough to find capital funding to invest in GP premises and warned that tackling variation in GP funding would require renegotiation of the GMS contract.

Andrew Lansley: believes any change in the NHS must lead to better outcomes and stresses the importance of choice in public services
Andrew Lansley: believes any change in the NHS must lead to better outcomes and stresses the importance of choice in public services

In a speech at the Commissioning 2012 event in Kensington, London, yesterday Mr Lansley warned that moving from ‘one system to another’ under the Health Act reforms would be difficult, and will take a while to get used to. But he pledged to ‘see the reforms through’.

He said any change in the NHS must lead to better outcomes and stressed the importance of choice in public services. Referring to a system that scores GP practices out of 10 on the NHS Choices website, he said patients need to see how their practice is scored and know that they can go to a different one if is it not good enough.

In a Q&A session after the speech, in which several GPs asked questions, he said the challenge for improving GP premises is identifying how to do so with the limited capital funding available.

He said: ‘Estates is tough because we have just gone through a process of identifying all the estates that will transfer to other providers, to NHS PropCo.

‘Capital funding is still a difficult part of the whole process for managing the NHS budget.’

He said clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) should not inherit any deficit and the DH could help with PFI debts but could not ‘prop up’ organisations. He also said it was an ‘urban myth’ that CCGs will have to be re-authorised annually.

Mr Lansley said he would love to drive out variation in funding received by GPs but said it would require renegotiating the GP contract including looking at the minumum practice income guarantee, or MPIG.

He said: ‘They are part of lengthy negotiations with the GPC.’

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