PCTs scrap upgrades in wake of financial crisis10th February 2010
Primary Care Trusts are cancelling upgrades to GP surgery buildings amid growing financial constraints.
An investigation by the journal Pulse showed that many practice premises are below standard.
Despite this, PCTs across the UK are cancelling upgrades or attaching conditions such as cutting referrals or drug bills before they will release funding because of the looming financial challenges.
In London, figures show that 59% of GP premises are below minimum standard and in NHS Hammersmith and Fulham all 27 practices are below statutory requirements, with eight ‘dangerously below standard’.
Manchester has 40% of its GP premises below standard.
NHS Worcestershire is one authority that will only release funds in return for contractual savings.
Warning of the “biggest financial challenge the NHS has ever faced”, its chief executive Paul Bates has told GPs: “Practices and PCT must agree terms that see them improving quality and reducing referrals and prescribing. Reimbursement of rent will depend on achieving targets.”
NHS Kirklees has put six GP premises schemes on hold because of the financial situation.
However, Dr Peter Holden, GPC negotiator with responsibility for premises, said the stance was not acceptable.
He added: “PCTs are burying their heads in the sand. My concern is that if the CQC gets its teeth into this and says ‘you’re not up to scratch’ it could put people out of business. We desperately need better premises."
Recognising historic problems exist with premises, the Department of Health pointed out that since 2000 about 3,000 GP premises had been refurbished or replaced.
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Title: PCTs scrap upgrades in wake of financial crisis
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 14022
Date Added: 10th Feb 2010