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Hunt: Government ‘recognises a problem’ with GP premises

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has indicated that the government will invest more in GP premises following three consecutive years of funding pressures.

Speaking at a health committee meeting this week, Hunt (pictured) admitted that he recognised “a problem” with GP premises.

He also pointed out that £750 million of the government’s £1 billion Primary Care Infrastructure Fund had yet to be spent.

The fund was introduced by the coalition government in December 2014, and aims to “accelerate improvements in GP premises and infrastructure like Information Technology”.

Hunt’s comments follow a June 2015 British Property Federation (BPF) report which welcomed the fund, but argued that it would not be enough to “tackle the true extent of the upgrading needed”.

The report, titled ‘Unlocking investment in primary care infrastructure’, argues that approximately £5 billion worth of capital investment is required to fully upgrade GP premises.

The report said: “It is estimated that half of all surgeries have asbestos, and that four out of 10 GPs in England and Scotland feel their premises are not fit for purpose – around 4,000 properties.”

It added that there was around £6 billion ready to invest in the sector from UK and global institutions, meaning that “the capital investment could be borne by the private sector”.

Harry Hyman, managing director of BPF member Primary Health Properties, said: “Primary Health Properties welcomes further investment in the primary care and integrated care market place. There is a pressing and urgent need for further modernisation of the primary care estate.”

*Sister companies of HealthInvestor have an interest in PHP

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Posted on: 17/09/2015

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