Dispute over service charge rises could be resolved in a month, says GPC

The dispute over sharp rises in service charges that have left many practices in NHS-owned properties fearing they could become financially unsustainable could soon be resolved, a senior GP has told LMCs.

GPC executive member Dr Gavin Ralston
GPC executive member Dr Gavin Ralston

Up to 1,500 GP practices across England operate from premises owned by NHS Property Services, and some partners have been landed with six-figure increases in service charge costs as part of a bid to operate the NHS estate on a 'more professional basis'.

At the 2016 LMC conference, GPonline reported exclusively on warnings from Northumberland LMC that practices could be forced out of business by the increased premises costs.

Earlier this month, GPonline reported that dozens of practices were considering court action to challenge the damaging service charge rises.

GP premises

Speaking at the LMC conference 2017 on Friday, GPC premises lead Dr Gavin Ralston said the committee had been 'very robust and firm' that the proposed service charge hikes had to change.

'They do realise, I think, that the current stance is not sustainable. GPs, sensibly are not paying these charges,' Dr Ralston said. 'We are gathering a lot of information, and have had dozens of replies about the problems. ThIs will come to a head in the next month or so and be resolved, hopefully in our favour.'

The comments came after GPC negotiators were challenged by Kent LMC member Dr Gaurav Gupta over allowing only a short debate on premises at the end of the first day of conference.

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