Nearly eight in ten GP practices are not fit for future needs, such as accommodating larger teams of healthcare professionals including pharmacists, the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned.
A BMA survey of 1,011 GPs and practice managers revealed that only half said their practices were suitable for present needs, while 78% said they would not be suitable for future needs.
The survey comes after the new GP contract agreed by NHS England and the BMA allocated £38,000 to primary care networks of GP practices to hire one pharmacist each in 2019/2020, with plans to hire at least five each by 2024.
But Richard Vautrey, GP committee chair for the BMA, said that “for patients to benefit from this expanded team, they too will require space to work”.
He continued: “Without more space and the ability to add rooms and facilities easily, patients will continue to face long waits for appointments, as GPs and their wider practice staff can only work with what they have.”
Tracey Rymer, practice manager at Byfield Medical Centre in Northamptonshire, said her practice “does not have enough room” to share resources with other healthcare professionals.
“We are constantly having to juggle rooms to accommodate our staff,” she said. “Our dispensary is unable to take advantage of cheaper bulk ordering as we don’t have enough storage space.”
Vautrey called on the government to “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”.