The new NHSPS lease and the prospect of significantly increased service charges continues to be a serious concern for many practices. It is a topic we have covered in detail on this blog and is one which raises many concerns for every practice affected. One question we are being asked frequently is ‘what action, if any, should we be taking now?’ With the application deadline for financial incentives to practices who sign up fast approaching, we thought it timely to update you on the current position.
GP practices are increasingly occupying their surgeries as leasehold tenants. It is a trend that has been happening for some time now, so many practices are approaching the end of their lease.
As a surgery lease is one of the most important and complex contracts a practice can enter into, it is important to plan ahead and take action early. Here are some of the key points to address in your plan:
Making the decision to move to a new surgery, or to redevelop your existing surgery building, is a big step. In fact, it is likely to be one of the most complicated legal transactions a practice will ever undertake, carrying significant financial and legal risks.
Around 1,500 GP practices in England currently operate from premises owned and managed by NHS Property Services (NHSPS). Many of these surgeries have now been contacted by NHSPS about entering into a new lease and are also facing demands for a highly inflated service charge.
A surgery building is one of the most valuable assets a GP practice may own, so it is important to understand the implications of how it is held. Partners need to be clear whether their property is held as a partnership asset or not. The answer can have significant implications in relation to ownership rights and obligations, occupancy and even tax.
Premises funding is a complex area for any GP practice to navigate.
There will be times when you need to obtain prior consent from NHS England (NHSE) in order to secure funding, and other times when you are simply required to inform them of changes.
Failure to seek consent when it is needed or to notify certain changes can put future premises funding at risk, or even result in NHSE looking to recover any overpayments.
If you’re a partner in a GP practice and have decided to retire, then there are many issues that both you and the remaining partners need to consider. Making a smooth exit is likely to be top of your agenda and one important area that can often be overlooked is dealing with lease obligations.
The issue of NHS premises funding is a complex area which is often misunderstood by GP practices. This confusion sometimes results in practices inadvertently overpaying their landlord.
Most GP practices will come into contact with the District Valuer Service (DVS) at one time or another. The DVS plays a key role in issues surrounding GP premises funding and has the potential to significantly impact on a surgery’s finances.
If you lease your surgery premises then the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 (“L&TA”) is something that could affect you.