£50m for GP surgeries in South Yorkshire dismissed as a ‘sticking plaster’ by campaigners

GP surgeries in South Yorkshire are to receive tens of millions of pounds to upgrade facilities as part of a £1.8 billion funding package announced by the Government.

Primary care services in the region will get £57.5m to improve and adapt buildings after successfully winning a bid for funding.

The money is part of a £1.8 billion funding package announced by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, which also includes £1billion to improve hospitals across the country.

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But health service campaigners dismissed the announcement as a ‘drop in the ocean’ compared to the amount the NHS has lost over the last nine years.

Sir Andrew Cash, chief executive of the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System, said: “We are delighted to hear that we’ve been successful in securing £57.5million new national funding into South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.

“The investment will help us to develop primary and community care in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw at pace, to help deliver our ambitions for providing high quality health and social care as close to people’s homes as possible.

“Patients and the public repeatedly tell us that good access to fantastic health and care services in their communities is what they want from their NHS, and we are thrilled that this new money will further support our ability to deliver just that for people across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.”

The South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System is a regional body which brings together dozens of clinical commissioning groups, hospitals and councils in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw under one roof.

They said the new money would allow surgeries to host primary care, community care and social care facilities in the same building in line with the NHS Long Term Plan announced earlier this year.

This could mean more GPs having their own physiotherapist or even a Citizens’ Advice Bureau, they added.

Health service campaigners in Sheffield said that the money had to be seen in the context of the unprecedented budget squeeze the NHS had experienced over the last nine years.

Catherine McAndrew from Sheffield Save Our NHS said the new money was nothing more than a ‘sticking plaster’.

She said: “Between 2013 and 2017, 11 per cent of GP surgeries in the region have been closed or merged. The Integrated Care System receiving the funding will have a funding shortfall of £571m by 2021.

”£57m does not come close to undoing or resolving chronic underfunding experienced by patients in South Yorkshire over the last decade.”