Delegates backed unanimously a call by Dr John Doyle from Surrey LMC who pointed out that if PCTs are to shift care from the secondary to the primary sector, practices need premises that are fit for purpose and that not to invest is short-sighted.
‘Adequate funding for general practice premises is such an obvious concept that it incredible that we need a motion to vote for it,' Dr Doyle said.
Not to invest could lead to the failure of practice based commissioning and even of some practices, he said.
Money must be protected against raids by strapped-for-cash PCTs, he insisted, saying that what is needed is spending on premises or improvement, not just a nominal budget.
Money must not be diverted to ‘unproven initiatives' such as GP-led centres and polyclinics without challenge.
‘If PCTs insist on funding premises for PCTs, the same level of funding should be made available for all local practices.'
Dr Eric Rose, chairman of the GPC premises subcommittee, agreed.
‘All the evidence is that PCTs are not investing in existing premises,' he said. ‘Practices need continuing investment and maintenance.'
Dr Deborah Colvin City and Hackney LMC chairman and a member of the advisory group for health care for London, pointed out that some parts of the general practice estate are not high quality but that money must be put into existing good quality general practice premises.
The general practice estate has many buildings which are of good quality and GPs provide excellent care from them. These premises must be maintained and improved in order to enable primary care to provide services close to people's homes which is what we know patients value.'