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Crisis in GP premises

14th September 2006

10072006_drswaitingroom1.jpgAn investigation by the magazine Pulse reveals a crisis in the state of GP premises in the UK. Figures from 175 primary care organisations (PCOs) show that at least 1,000, one in seven practice premises in the UK, is unfit for purpose.

Three out of five PCOs said at least one of their GP premises was inadequate, says Pulse, and in some areas, almost all premises are sub-standard. The figures supplied to Pulse by the PCOs show that the situation is far worse that past data indicated.

A total of 522 premises were said to be unfit by the London's 31 PCTs, making it the worse affected area; Birmingham, Bristol and Bradford were also shown to have a high rate of poor premises. Out of those that supplied figures in Scotland, Grampian and Ayrshire and Arran were the worse hit. In Wales Flintshire was the worst area, and in Northern Ireland, the Northern Board had the highest numbers.

Dr Peter Holden, of the British Medical Association's GPs' committee and GPC negotiator for premises, said the results were further evidence that the Department of Health was "spending peanuts on premises".

"This means GPs cannot take on the broader role that is possible in primary care, delivering services at a fraction of the cost of secondary care" he added.

The Department of Health said premises were getting better, with £1bn being invested in GP surgeries and health centres under the Lift programme, a public-private partnership, adding the Department was 'helping the NHS open 125 health centres by the end of this year'.

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