GP leader supports new money to modernise GP surgeries

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News of an extra £108 million to fund primary care premises is seen by the BMA's General Practitioners Committee (GPC) leaders as a welcome recognition by the Department of Health for England, that if GPs are to lead the way in modernising patient care they need improved surgeries to work in.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the GPC, commented: "With the best will in the world, GPs cannot provide optimum care for their patients if they work in cramped or old-fashioned premises without the room to take on staff to expand services. This new money, £42 million this year and a further £66 million in 2005/06, will be of real help to some surgeries able to take advantage of the schemes on offer. Sadly, not all practices needing improved premises will be able to access this extra funding, and we will wish to discuss some of the potential restrictions on its use with the Department.

"We note that part of the money is available to create space in training practices for more new GP Registrars (GPs in training). This is welcome but contrasts oddly with the Government's current cuts in the budgets supporting the actual training of future family doctors. Those cuts should be restored immediately so that tomorrow's patients have suitably trained GPs."

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