Chancellor promises £100m for premises in budget report

Up to 600 GP practices could be given funding to expand their premises, the government has announced.

The pre-budget report, released on Monday, pledges '£100 million to advance the upgrading of up to 600 GP surgeries to training practices.'

That works out to nearly £170,000 per practice - enough to fund a substantial extension.

The report adds that the money will be targeted at under-doctored areas.

GPC sources cautiously welcomed the money but said they had not been consulted.

GPC premises lead Dr Peter Holden also questioned whether it would be additional funding. 'If it's recycled old money it's just Labour up to its old tricks.'

He added that premises required a steady stream of reliable funding rather than unpredictable bursts of cash.

The profession's best hope is that 'banks are beginning to realise that GPs are a better bet than small companies', he added.

Mike Adams, chairman of premises developer MedicX, said the money was unlikely to make a major difference.

The report also says that PCTs will be asked to save an extra £5 billion by 2010/11.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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