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Only 5% of flagship scheme to upgrade GP surgeries spent on premises

Only 5% of flagship scheme to upgrade GP surgeries spent on premises

The Government's promise of a major upgrade to GP surgeries to enable them to expand and help ease the pressure on hospitals has not materialised, a Pulse investigation reveals.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt promised a 'visible improvement in primary care facilities', but new figures show only 5% of the £1bn fund has been spent by NHS England on improving GP premises, two years after it was first announced.

Figures obtained by Pulse under the Freedom of Information Act show £48m of the 'Estates and Technology Transformation Fund' has been spent on premises so far, while £201m has been quietly siphoned off to support other projects, such as seven-day GP access and putting pharmacists in GP practices.

Chancellor George Osborne announced a £1bn 'primary care infrastructure fund' would come from fines levied on misbehaving banks in 2014, saying it would lead to a 'transformation' of the health service and NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens saying 'shovel ready' premises projects would be prioritised.

Around 40% of practices that have applied for funding have been approved, but many were given much less funding than requested and others have been sent back to the drawing board to make their projects deliver the same outcomes for less money.

This is despite four in 10 GPs saying their premises are not adequate for patient care and one in 10 surgeries saying they have hazards that could affect the health of patients and staff.

NHS England said that by March, it will have spent £120m of the fund, but it was unable to say how much of this was on premises and technology, and how much had been siphoned off into other projects.

Full details: Estates and Technology Transformation Fund (ETTF)

  • Number of applications: 4,059
  • Number of completed projects: 560
  • Number of ongoing projects: 316
  • Number of projects approved but subject to due diligence: 861
  • Amount spent on premises as of January 2017: £48m
  • Amount spent on IT infrastructure as of January 2017: Unknown
  • Amount siphoned off to other projects: £201m

Source: Pulse Today

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