Half of GP surgery buildings are ‘unfit for purpose’ and outdated, reveals survey of more than 1,000 doctors
- 1,011 GPs and practice managers in England responded to the new BMA survey
- British Medical Association is urging the Government to invest in GP premises
- Comes amid rise of private companies offering virtual appointments via apps
Half of GP practice buildings are considered unfit for purpose, a survey has found.
About 50 per cent of doctors and practice managers do not think their surgeries are suitable for present needs, according to the British Medical Association poll.
Meanwhile, almost eight out of 10 (78 per cent) said their practice would not be able to handle expected future demands, such as population growth.
The BMA is urging the Government to invest in GP premises and ‘bring facilities up to 21st-century standards’.
Without more space, patients would continue to face long waits for appointments, BMA GP committee chairman Dr Richard Vautrey warned.
‘GPs have been telling us for years that their practice buildings are not up to scratch and now we have evidence showing just how serious the situation is,’ he said.
‘Despite their best efforts, GPs and their teams are ultimately limited by space and cannot meet the growing needs of their patients without an urgent increase in capacity.’
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A forthcoming NHS England review into GP practice premises would hopefully offer some solutions to the issues ‘persistently raised’ by doctors, Dr Vautrey said.
‘More broadly, the government must use next month’s spending review to urgently invest in practice premises – as well as wider NHS infrastructure – to bring facilities up to 21st-century standards and ensure that GPs and their colleagues throughout the health service can guarantee the best care now and in the future,’ he added.
Dr Roberta King, a partner at the Panton Practice in Bournemouth, said the number of patients has more than doubled since she started work in 1991, from 7,000 people to around 15,000.
Investment: Without more space, patients would continue to face long waits for appointments, experts have warned
‘We have been looking for a new site to rebuild for the past ten years but it’s just been impossible,’ she said.
‘Even back then we realised that we didn’t have enough space and we have continued to grow.
‘I think it does impact patient care and even if we were to have another three more doctors to care for patients and bring down our waiting times, we would have nowhere to put them.’
She added: ‘All this talk in the long-term plan of social prescribing and a recruitment drive for more NHS staff, but I have no idea where I am going to put them – that is just not happening in my practice.’
A total of 1,011 GPs and practice managers in England responded to the BMA survey.
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