Improvement grants to upgrade GP premises

A PCT has pledged a raft of improvements to practices in its area, bucking a national trend to hold off funding premises upgrades.

Portsmouth City Teaching PCT is releasing non-recurrent funding due to run out for a series of improvement grants to practices.

All practices in the city have now been asked to submit bids, with work set to include improving security, telephone systems and access to premises.

Portsmouth City Teaching PCT's head of general practice Steph Punt said: 'We work hard with our partners in primary care to try to ensure that we have accommodation for patients that is accessible, meets their needs and is of the highest possible standard.'

She said that the PCT is committed financially to supporting new premises for three practices in the city, Victory Practice, Buckland Medical Centre and Dr Tutte and Partners.

Last week the GPC warned that there was 'no political will' from central government to fund improvements to practices or new premises, apart from the 250 APMS health centres proposed as part of Lord Darzi's review.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said that premises upgrades not part of Lord Darzi's plans would increasingly have to rely on the goodwill of PCTs, adding that the situation in Portsmouth was rare.

Wessex LMC director Dr Anthony D'Arcy said: 'We are a long way from getting the upgrades and we will not be totally optimistic until we know more details. But the letters to the GPs is a good sign and we are in a better situation than many other areas.'

Write to GPletters@haymarket.com if your PCT is not funding premises.

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