GPs urged to check leases or face bills for thousands of pounds

GPs could face a bill for thousands of pounds in building repairs unless they have up-to-date premises leases in place with their PCT by April 2013.

Premises: lease concerns (Photograph: NTI)
Premises: lease concerns (Photograph: NTI)

The warning comes from lawyers after the DH revealed plans for a new company, NHS Property Services, last month.

The company, dubbed PropCo, will take over most NHS property currently owned by PCTs in a bid to rationalise the NHS estate and cut costs.

PCT-owned GP surgeries will be a key part of the property portfolio that will transfer because they are unlikely to be considered ‘service critical clinical infrastructure’ that can shift to foundation trusts or community foundation trusts.

Lynne Abbess, a partner with solicitors Hempsons, said the move would have a significant impact on hundreds of GPs in PCT-owned or leased property.

She said: ‘For those in older premises the fear is that if you have not got a proper lease in place with a schedule of condition, establishing the starting point for your own liability, then when the lease ends GPs could find themselves responsible for repairs to a building dating back to the beginning when the PCT should have been responsible.’

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said: ‘GPs need to get advice from their solicitors. We are now going into the hard world of business which most of us have been shielded from.’

A DH spokesman said further details about how the change would impact on GP surgeries would ‘follow in due course’.

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