Over 1,000 GP practices awarded up to £5m under NHS infrastructure scheme

More than 1,000 GP practices across England have been awarded up to £5m to improve premises in the first wave of schemes to win support from the £250m-a-year NHS infrastructure fund.

GP premises: infrastructure funding announced
GP premises: infrastructure funding announced

NHS England has made a 'decision in principle' to award funding to 1,087 practices. More than 2,000 practices - over one in four of all GP practices in England - applied for support from the infrastructure fund, worth £250m a year from 2015/16 to 2018/19.

Officials have also unveiled successful applicants for the second wave of funding under the prime minister's Challenge Fund, with 37 pilot schemes covering 1,417 GP practices awarded support.

Combined with the first wave of Challenge Fund pilots, 57 schemes are now in place, aiming to deliver increased GP access and improvements to out-of-hospital care to more than 18m patients.

Inadequate GP premises

Reacting to the two announcements, GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'We are pleased that the government has finally listened to the BMA’s GP committee’s prolonged lobbying aimed at addressing the declining, inadequate state of GP premises, which has damaged the ability of practices to meet the needs of their patients.

'The 1,000 practices who will be receiving grants through this year’s Primary Care Infrastructure Fund will be the first beneficiaries of this campaign and their successful applications are a significant step forward. However there is still a long way to go before all GP facilities are fit for purpose to provide patients with the level of service they need.'

A poll of BMA members last year revealed that four out of 10 GP practices were struggling to provide even basic GP services because of problems with their premises.

On the Challenge Fund annoucement, Dr Nagpaul added: 'The BMA remains concerned that this fund is only guaranteed for one year, which will leave practices without resources to continue any successful initiatives in future years. General practice desperately needs increased and sustained long-term funding.'

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