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General Practitioners: Standards

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of general practitioners' premises were above all minimum standards set by his Department in each primary care trust area at the most recent date for which figures are available; and what percentage in each primary care trust area did not meet minimum standards through not complying with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. (267441)

Details of the minimum standards for general practitioner practice premises are set out in Schedule 1 of The National Health Service (General Medical Services - Premises Costs) (England) Directions 2004, a copy of which has been placed in the Library. Compliance with these standards is a matter for local primary care trusts (PCT) and each make their own arrangements for undertaking this assessment.

The most recent relevant data collected centrally was a snapshot return as at 31 March 2005 which was provided by PCTs. It has not been collected centrally since then. A copy was placed in the Library on 12 May 2006. The data is now four years out of date and does not reflect the investment in primary care premises that has taken place in the intervening period.

New premises that fully satisfy minimum standards are being provided under the NHS Local Finance Investment Trust (NHS LIFT) initiative. Over £1.5 billion in private sector capital has already been injected into GP premises and community facilities across the country with 48 NHS LIFT schemes established and another one in procurement. This has, to date, delivered 205 new buildings open to patients with another 25 under construction. Private sector capital has also been invested by third party developers who specialise in the primary care estate.

The NHS ProCure21 initiative has also provided premises that fully satisfy minimum standards. Of a total of £3.5 billion invested through that investment programme, over £400 million has been invested in primary care and community facilities across England. Of that amount, 36 projects with a value of £143 million have been completed and 33 projects with a value of £260 million are currently in the earlier stages of development.