BMA issue fresh warning to GP Practices occupying NHS Property Services’ properties
As we advised our GP clients earlier this year, NHS PS are looking to ensure that any GP Practices occupying NHS PS premises without any formal agreements in place enter into ‘Heads of Terms’ or similar documentation, which will commit them to terms demanded by NHS PS in respect of future formal lease agreements.
We know that these terms are usually far weighted in favour of NHS PS and by signing the terms, a GP Practice effectively signs away its right to negotiate.
We have seen a noticeable increase in attempts by NHS PS in recent months to arrange meetings with GP Practices to discuss their occupations and/or present GP Practices with documentation to sign.
The particular focus of the BMA warning note is the nature of the terms offered by NHS PS and specifically the claims by NHS PS that those terms have now been agreed by the General Practitioners Committee in the form of a standard document. The BMA has confirmed that there is no such agreed or standard document in place and that in fact fundamental issues remain to be agreed with NHS PS.
The GPC is still currently trying to negotiate acceptable lease terms with NHS PS.
We strongly echo the recommendations of the BMA – GP Practices should seek legal advice before entering into any agreements with NHS PS and in particular we would recommend that GP Practices seek legal advice:
- before meeting with any members of the NHS PS estates team to discuss their occupations;
- if they have already met with or received correspondence from NHS PS, but before signing any documentation (however innocuous it may appear);
- if they are uncertain as to what their current occupancy rights are, or what options are available to them.
We are currently advising a large number of GP Practices in occupations of NHS PS premises in respect of proposed lease agreements, existing lease arrangements and also issues arising from the terms of those leases (e.g. in relation to service charge demands received from NHS PS).
If you have been contacted by NHS PS or simply wish to discuss your Practice’s options, please contact our dedicated Healthcare Real Estate team on the details set out below.
0191 226 3130