Londoners deserve GP surgeries ‘fit for the 21st century’

Following analysis of primary care infrastructure in the capital, London boroughs are calling for a transformation of the capital’s ageing GP and primary care premises.

Borough leaders are concerned by the deteriorating condition of much of the capital’s primary care infrastructure and want a key role in driving the improvements alongside their NHS partners.

London Councils calls for a more collaborative approach through: more devolution and simplification of NHS capital funding so that boroughs can participate in decision-making and help accelerate improvements to local primary care premises; health partners to provide comprehensive, up-to-date maps of GP surgeries and primary care across local areas so that boroughs can make better use of their planning powers to support new primary care infrastructure; and a strengthened role for local authority Health and Wellbeing Boards in primary care estate issues, with health partners working with boards as a matter of routine.

The Better Health for London report suggests that 51 per cent of GP surgeries in the capital require some refurbishment, while 13 per cent were poor, very poor, or terrible and should be rebuilt. A third of practices were found to be inaccessible for people in wheelchairs. Additionally, many London GP surgeries are located in converted residential housing or older purpose-built centres that allow for little flexibility in the way services are offered and are no longer suitable for meeting health and care needs.

Ray Puddifoot MBE, London Councils’ Executive Member for Health & Care, said: “Londoners deserve GP surgeries fit for the 21st century, but many primary care premises are in deteriorating condition and many simply aren’t suitable for modern health care. Boroughs want to work with NHS colleagues to deliver a new generation of primary care premises. We know that some areas of the capital are poorly served by the current distribution of services, leaving too many Londoners struggling to access a local GP.

“The health service shouldn’t take investment decisions in isolation – local government needs to be at the table, contributing our knowledge and resources to the future development of primary care provision for our communities. Together we can ensure London gets the health and care infrastructure it needs.”