An investigation has judged one in seven GP surgeries on the NHS to be 'below minimum standard'.
Carried out by Pulse, a publication for medical professionals, the research found that almost half of the 51 Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) surveyed had at least one substandard premises.
Despite this, many PCTs have been forced to curb spending on upgrades due to the financial crisis, even though in some cases, the trusts admitted that nothing but a "total rebuild or relocation" would improve matters.
Richard Holey, editor of Pulse, commented: "It is shocking that significant numbers of GPs are being left to work, and patients left to be treated, in premises that are not only unfit but in some cases actually unsafe."
He added: "The government has repeatedly promised to deliver better surgery buildings, but too much of the new money appears to have been diverted to shiny new polyclinics rather than in ensuring existing GP surgeries are fit for their purpose."