Exclusive: PCTs raid own funds to build 'unnecessary' polyclinics

PCTs will have to use their own budgets to pay for polyclinics because the £250 million DoH access fund is not enough, GP can reveal.

Every PCT must provide a new polyclinic regardless of need, according to the DoH's rigid 2008/9 operating framework.

The information confirms the GPC's concern that there was not enough new money to fund the projects and existing services would suffer. 

Just £40 million will be allocated to PCTs' general budgets to fund 150 polyclinics across England.

The £250 million access fund was announced last year to pay for 100 new APMS practices in under-doctored areas and a polyclinic in every PCT. The GPC warned that the £250 million would barely cover the cost of the buildings and that running costs would leach money from PCT's budgets. 

A DoH spokeswoman said funding for the polyclinics would be provided to PCTs through their general allocations; £210 million will be invested in GP surgeries for under-doctored areas over the next four years, she said.

That leaves just £40 million to cover 150 new polyclinics in England. 

Polyclinic cost varies but one PCT in Suffolk estimated £850,000 in the first year.

A spokeswoman from Bolton PCT confirmed that its polyclinic would be funded ‘from money within our baseline rather than from an additional DoH allocation'. 

Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT also confirmed ‘the main funding will come from the PCT's own budget'.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said the government had always intended to move money away from PMS and GMS services, and local enhanced services.  

‘It has been very difficult to work out what was new money here. No one else who wants to build something will get anything, and money will go to new providers.'   

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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