Funding freeze to hit more than 100 premises projects

Plans for the development of new premises buildings in Wales have been frozen until further notice.

Andrew Walker, head of capital, estates and facilities for the Welsh Assembly government, wrote to senior NHS executives in Wales last month to warn that the reorganisation of the country's local health boards (LHBs) would mean a full review of all building projects.

On primary care schemes that have yet to appoint a third-party developer, Mr Walker wrote: 'No new selection processes should be commenced until further notice, and those under way should be immediately halted.'

GPC Wales chairman Dr David Bailey said that as many as 140 projects would now be frozen. 'A moratorium on development in an environment that's been extremely slow for the last four years is not acceptable,' he said.

'We're really concerned that third-party developers are going to get so cheesed off that they look elsewhere.'

Schemes where a third-party developer has already been selected may go ahead. But Mr Walker's letter said LHBs would be expected to have a 'robust discussion' on the most efficient use of existing assets and 'dependencies between primary care and other developments'.

The Welsh Assembly government is also considering fund-ing future developments using capital funding, rather than revenue as at present. Mr Walker's letter notes that this will tie up capital for up to 20 years.

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