New GP premises funding 'insufficient', claims major developer

NHS England has dismissed suggestions from a major developer that insufficient funding has been identified for 200 new-build primary care premises set to receive health service funding support.

Funding announced for new-build primary care schemes identified for investment under the Estates and Technology Transformation Fund (ETTF) is 'insufficient for full implementation of all the schemes identified', according to a trading update published by property development firm Assura.

BMA surveys of GP practices across England have demonstrated that general practice premises are in dire need of improvement, with four in 10 warning their facilities are not adequate for patient care.

GP leaders have also hit out at delays in delivering funding to practices, and at the impact of an ETTF cap that means it can only pay for 20% to 30% of the total cost of projects worth over £1m.

GP premises

The Assura statement highlights that the NHS has identified 'over 200 new build primary care schemes for investment under the ETTF as part of its plans to support the increase in services available in the primary care setting'.

It says: 'This investment will be a very positive step as the NHS looks to relieve the pressures in the secondary care healthcare system, although the timescale is uncertain and the funding announced to date is insufficient for full implementation of all of the schemes identified.'

The company's interim chief executive Jonathan Murphy said: 'The long-term solution to the challenges facing the NHS is widely agreed to include more healthcare being provided in the primary care sector, by GPs. This in turn will require investment in GP premises.

GP Forward View

'We are pleased that the government has shown its support for this by the ETTF. Firm timetables and funding to turn these plans into reality are now essential if the benefits to the NHS are to be achieved within the five-year timeframe of the GP Forward View.'

An NHS England spokesperson said: 'Before they can be approved it’s important that any identified scheme, including new build schemes, are subject to a series of detailed checks including deliverability, affordability and value for money, including any ongoing revenue considerations. This would be the case with any capital scheme that is developed by the public sector.

'A number of new build schemes combine health services and other community services, which could result in multiple funding streams of which the ETTF would be only one part of the overall funding.'

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