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Monday, 8 December 2008

WAG puts the development of GP practice premises on hold

I am extremely concerned that the National Assembly Government has put a stop to the development of GP practice premises across Wales, whilst the NHS reorganisation takes place.

Recently, they gave an instruction to Local Heath Boards to immediately stop planning for projects in primary care in Wales. This means that patients who have to visit their doctor in unsuitable surgeries across the length and breadth of Wales, will have to wait years before they see an improvement in building standards. It also means that many doctors will have to work in premises they know are inadequate and not fit for purpose.

Chairman of the BMA's GP Committee, Dr David Bailey has given this reaction: "Despite claiming that one of the Government's stated aims is to move care out as much as appropriate into the community closer to patients’ homes, there is now significant planning blight on primary care premises development. To me, this seems, to say, the least illogical.

"GPC Wales is fully supportive of the drive to move care closer to patients homes and utilise the skills and expertise that exist in primary care. However decisions such as this – ostensibly to allow planning by new organisations not expected to exist until 2009 – seem to demonstrate a worrying lack of joined up thinking and will have an effect on morale in primary care, probably much greater than the actual delay in premises development."

"We would urge the Government to reconsider the issue of this advice and allow LHBs to continue to develop primary care estate and the capacity of NHS Wales right up to the moment they cease to be accountable for these important responsibilities.

It is totally unacceptable that both patients and GPs will have to put up with inadequate premises whilst the NHS reorganises itself - a process which will take at least a year to bed down."

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