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waiting roomJune 1 2016

The BMA has described a new GP premises lease agreement as a “step forward,” as it will “deliver a raft of benefits”.

For GP practices located within NHS Property Services establishments which sign up to the lease between now and November 2017, the new lease terms mean they “will see relevant costs incurred during the sign up process, such as stamp duty, paid for by NHS England,” said the BMA.

The new lease terms have been agreed by the BMA’s GP committee, NHS England and NHS Property Services. NHS Property Services owns and manages about 10% of the NHS estate, including about 11% of NHS GP practices.

NHSPS said it can now “complete the process of agreeing leases with around 1,000 undocumented GP occupiers, giving both landlord and occupier clarity on their rights and responsibilities and on the space and services used by the occupier.”

Other benefits in the template lease agreement include:

  • a clause allowing practices who lose their core contract to break their lease;
  • a requirement entitling practices that see their rents revised to equivalent reimbursement;
  • the removal of a previous clause that allowed NHS Property Services to relocate a practice;
  • increased transparency for service charges in newly revised guidance;
  • agreed dispute resolution procedures for all GP practices signing up to the new template.

Dr Brian Balmer, BMA GP Executive member, said: “This is the first agreed template lease between NHS Property Services and the BMA. It has been produced after considerable negotiation and we believe it allows practices to sign up to individual leases with the confidence that they are entering into a fair and modern relationship with the landlord.

“There will of course always be local issues which need to be resolved and this agreement is not a magic bullet to every problem that arises with GP premises. The government still, for example, needs to deliver on their planned investment in GP infrastructure.

“However, this new agreement is a significant step forward and presents an opportunity that I would urge GP practices to seriously consider, especially as some of the benefits of this agreement are only available for a specific period of time.”

John Westwood, Director of Asset Management at NHS Property Services, said: “Although this formal approach is very different from what many of our GP occupiers have known in the past, we have found broad agreement on the principle of establishing rights and responsibilities through leases. GPs want to be sure that they have the facilities to provide contracted services.

“This is a major advance and we are grateful to the BMA for their contribution. Many of the properties we inherited from Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities had been occupied on a casual basis. This documentation will ensure that we and our occupiers have the same understanding of the space they occupy – including access, shared and common areas. It provides a platform for planning future needs, so that we can help tenants manage space better, deliver services in a different way or identify extra services that might be needed.”

Links:

BMA announcement

NHS Property Services announcement

BMA ‘NHS PS GP premises leases - a resource’

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