Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Third of GP Surgeries in Capital Do Not Have Basic Patient Facilities; Survey Finds Lack of Security and Space

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Third of GP Surgeries in Capital Do Not Have Basic Patient Facilities; Survey Finds Lack of Security and Space

Article excerpt

Byline: LECH MINTOWT-CZYZ;REBECCA SMITH

HEALTH campaigners today reacted angrily to figures showing a third of London's GPs' surgeries fail to provide even basic facilities.

A survey of every surgery in London found that many had small and badly ventilated waiting rooms, a lack of privacy for patients and furniture and fittings in poor repair.

Other concerns included a lack of security for drugs and patient records, insufficient and badly equipped hand washing areas, poor access for disabled patients and a lack of facilities for babies and children.

The government statistics, compiled last year, also show that in nine boroughs the majority of GP facilities were not up to scratch.

Not one doctors' surgery in Havering met the required minimum standards, while in Lewisham only three of the 51 practices were considered acceptable.

In Enfield, eight out of 10 surgeries were not up to standard, while more than three quarters in Richmond and Twickenham were judged to be inadequate.

The figures were condemned by campaign group London Health Emergency.

Director John Lister said: "We keep being given the impression by the government that all the stops are being pulled out in an effort to improve primary care, but what these statistics show is that we are a long way away from getting even the basic facilities patients need."

Under Department of Health rules, doctors' surgeries must meet 14 separate requirements to be passed fit for patients, ranging from space, access and privacy to equipment and hygiene.

A Department of Health spokesman said the figures highlighted historic problems particular to London, where a shortage of suitable locations has prevented investment in new practices.

He added that a " substandard" classification may be simply down to a lack of nappy-changing facilities.

Ministers said that GPs' premises in London were currently receiving unprecedented levels of investment, with one in three having been refurbished recently. …

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