GP practices

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BMA GP Premises Survey results 2018

GP practices infographic 03

The BMA GP Committee is currently participating in the GP premises review, led by NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care. To inform this process, the survey was targeted to build a fuller picture of the current landscape for GP premises. GP practices were asked to complete a survey about the state of their current premises.

BMA GP Committee Chair, Dr Richard Vautrey

"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." 

Read the press release

Our approach

GP Practices in England were encouraged to complete the survey via their Local Medical Committees. The survey was available for practices to complete online from 31 October to 21 November 2018. Around 1,000 practices took part in the survey, and we received a wide range of responses from practices with different types of contracts. There was a good response rate from across England, with a lower response rate recorded from London practices.

 

The key survey findings:

  • Only half of practices considered their premises to be fit for present needs (this figure is lower than when last asked in 2005 when 60% thought their premises were fit for present needs)
  • This number falls to just over 2 in 10 practices when asked if they thought their premises was fit for the future (population growth) (this is very similar to when asked in 2005).
  • The last significant modification or extension to premises took place in the mid-2000s (2005), on average, pre-dating many of the increases in patient demand and population growth witnessed over the last decade.
  • Following successful application, some practices reported waiting as little as one month to received improvement grant funding while others up to around one year.

Read the full survey results

  • GP Premises

    • The majority of respondents- 57% reported that their premises are owned by the current partners. Practices have an average of two non-premises owning partners compared to an average of three premises owning partners. We believe that in the past ownership levels were higher.
    • 7 in 10 practices are in purpose-built premises.
  • Fit for purpose

    • Only half of practices considered their premises to be fit for present needs (this figure is lower than when last asked in 2005 when 60% thought their premises were fit for present needs).
    • This number falls to just over 2 in 10 practices when asked if they thought their premises was fit for the future (population growth) (this is very similar to when asked in 2005).
    • When asked what would make premises more suitable for present needs most practices noted that more space is needed, including by extending the premises, more consulting rooms to manage a growing patient list, improving access including for disabled patients, expanded and improved patient waiting and reception areas.
    • Some practices mentioned the need for new premises and relocation.
    • Despite these issues, around 7 in 10 practices say they could make room to train future GPs.
  • Investment

    • The results show that GP premises were on average 35 years old, having been first built or converted in 1984.
    • The last significant modification or extension to premises took place in the mid-2000s (2005), on average, pre-dating many of the increases in patient demand and population growth witnessed over the last decade.
    • Around 4 in 10 practices had applied for funding from NHS England since 2015 (and approximately half of these were successful)
    • The most popular premises improvements practices would carry out if they had the funds were build an extension (50%) and improve lighting, ventilation or heating (48%).
    • 36% of respondents reported that the source of funding for premises improvements was from the NHS. Meanwhile the next biggest percentage - 28% of respondents - noted that improvements were self-funded.
    • While some practices reported waiting as little as a couple of weeks to receive information about the status of their grant application others note they had been waiting more than two to three years with the process ongoing. Most reported waiting in the region of three to six months.
    • Most practices were required to wait between three and six months to receive funds. A smaller proportion of practices reported waiting as little as one month while others up to around one year to receive funds.
  • Service charges

    • Eight in 10 practices leasing from an NHS organisation said they had been invoiced with charges that were inaccurate in the last 12 months, with only 5% reporting these issues had been resolved.
    • 68% of respondents noted that their practice holds a formal lease for their premises. On average respondents report their current lease has 12 years remaining.
    • Asked whether there is an assignment clause in the lease, 75% of practices responded that they don’t know.
  • Primary Care Network

    • Around 7 in 10 practices had joined in a collaboration (either a Federation, Network or Super partnership) but for the vast majority this had no impact on their premises with less than 2% saying working at scale had reduced their need for premises improvements.
    • Around 60% of practices reported that they did not have plans in place to formally merge with other practices.
  • Further resources