More than 40 per cent of GP practices are unlikely to be capable of providing modern primary care services, according to analysis by construction consultants.
The assessment follows the chancellor’s announcement this week that £1.1bn will be spent over four years improving GP services and out-of-hospital infrastructure, the majority of which could be earmarked for capital spending.
The NHS Five Year Forward View, which has also been backed by the Chancellor, has proposed a range of new care models and could result in a significant extension of primary care provision.
Roger Pulham, director of Gleeds’ healthcare consultancy, told HSJ that most GP premises lacked the “flexibility or amenity” meet the ambitions of the forward view.
Gleeds estimates that up to 3,000 GP practices had been significantly improved over the past decade, leaving a “rump” of about 4,000 surgeries requiring work.
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Mr Pulham said a central fund could help “unlock” premises where GPs “cannot sensibility and economically release [them]”, he added.
Mr Pulham estimated that this fund should be within the region of £300m-£500m.
Alan Gavurin, managing director at primary care consultancy Damson Health, agreed a dedicated budget to improve GP premises would be helpful.
The use of a protected budget could be “useful to protect money in areas that would otherwise get sliced”, he added.
Treating primary care funding as a “holistic budget” was “problematic” for premises developments, Mr Gavurin said.
Such a budget would likely be “overspent in the short term”, he added
“You don’t get the savings from service rationalisation or transformation from day one of a new building,” he explained, so this funding would be more likely to be cut.”