FINANCE: A plan to redevelop a number of GP practices in Aylesbury has been recommended to NHS Buckinghamshire, even though it puts the primary care trust’s savings plans at risk.

The PCT’s board was recommended to approve scheme, which was drawn up to meet an expected rise in population.

Board papers for its May meeting said the risks of doing nothing had not been quantified, but could be significant, as they could lead to the cancellation of a contract with one of the providers, the Berryfields Practice, leading to possible legal action and financial penalties.

The practice is currently based in a temporary building which “can no longer remain in place”, the papers said.

Cancelling the practice’s contract would lead to “severe disruption to patients and service delivery” and there is also the risk that the growing demands for primary care of an expanding population would not be met, leading to more unnecessary admissions into accident and emergency, the board was told.

However, the report also warned that: “Costs associated with the recommendations [to approve the scheme] are a risk to the quality, innovation, productivity and prevention plan for the financial year 2012-13 onwards.”

The cost to the PCT of approving permanent accommodation for Berryfields had not been fully calculated. However, the papers said the PCT will incur recurrent costs of £18,000 a year for redeveloping the Meadowcroft practice, £154,000 for integrating the Poplar Grove and Broughton House practice, and £36,000 for extending the Norden House practice.

Extending another practice would be cost neutral, as it was already in the current primary care budget.

The PCT’s clinical commissioning board broadly backed the proposals, although requested more information on the Berryfields and Meadowcroft proposals.