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times article
Started by Bev Hurst
Posted: May 23, 2006 at 16:30
Surgeries are going to the dogs

POP down to your GP surgery for an injection, say, and you could end up having a quick jab next to the microwave. So poor is the state of many practice premises that some doctors are having to use every nook, cranny and kitchen to conduct consultations.
GP (May 19) says that according to a British Medical Association survey two thirds of surgery buildings are inadequate. “Hot desking” is common, with many GPs forced to share rooms, and a quarter of practices pose health and safety risks to both staff and patients.

Doctor (May 16) reports that government policy is under threat because of the shoddy state of practice premises. GPs claim that ministers’ plans to shift some of the care currently undertaken in hospitals into the community will founder unless there is greater investment in primary care infrastructure.

But a Department of Health spokesman, quoted in GP, says that more than 3,000 practices have been refurbished since 2000, with surgeries and community hospitals benefiting from both state and private funding.

GP also reports that if premises are not fit for human beings, they could take on a new lease of life as veterinary practices. A chain of veterinary surgeries is expanding and wants to acquire 200 disused GP surgeries during the next eight years.

But if proof were needed that crumbling buildings and bad design can have a detrimental effect on health, it comes in Health Service Journal (May 18). It says that carefully considered building design and specification can have a significant effect on healthcare-acquired infections, which kill about 5,000 people each year.

Single-bed rooms, more nursing stations and “high-efficiency particulate air filters” can all help to beat the bugs.

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