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GPs go forth

GP premises could be bought off NHS Property Services by CCGs under new plans

GP premises in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight could be taken away from NHS Property Services as part of radical new plans for commissioners to reshape primary care.

NHS South East Hampshire CCG and NHS Fareham and Gosport CCG said that they want to take control of local estates to 'work for the needs of our population'.

They added that the contracts with NHS Property Services were ‘not flexible enough’, while the company lacked the ‘incentive and alignment’ to support the local transformation plans.

As a result, they want to see the return of the 'key assets'.

It comes as the GPC has agreed a new deal with NHS Property Services, which will see GPs who rent premises from NHS Property Services having their stamp duty reimbursed and being allowed to break their lease if they lose their core contract.

But the Hampshire plans - revealed in its 'sustainability and transformation plan' (STP), the blueprints for the future of the health service being developed by every region in England - revealed that commissioners are looking to buy all the primary and secondary care property owned by NHS Property Services.

It outlined the 'managed transition’ of the current non-surplus primary and community care estate currently owned by NHS Property Services into a special investment vehicle.

The plan said: 'One issue that we will seek to address are the challenges with NHS Property Services, who lack the incentive and alignment to the local transformation plan, and as a result we want see the return of key assets to ensure delivery of our transformation priorities.'

The move has been cautiously welcomed by local GP leaders.

Dr Donal Collins, GP lead for Gosport CCG said: 'In our fragmented system, organisations tend to look to their needs first, then the systems. Some of the contracts with NHS Property Services while at the time were negotiated in good faith and at a different time in terms of pressure, are now not flexible enough for our needs.

'If the “system” had control of estates including those GP surgeries who would like to give over control, then estate could work for the needs of our population. It could mean expanding building of some of the estate, and selling on those bits that don’t fit the needs of the local population.'

Dr Nigel Watson, Wessex LMC chief executive said: 'The premises issue is not directly aimed at general practice. But we are looking to improve premises and to ensure general practice, community services and hospitals are not developed in isolation.'

NHS Property Services denied that ownership of premises would change as a result of STPs and that it intended to work with the CCGs to make sure properties were put to the best use possible.

A spokesperson for NHS Property Services said: ‘We work closely with local providers… to ensure effective use of the healthcare estate nationally and locally. In the past year we have delivered over 100 estates plans in consultation with CCGs and now through the next iteration as part of the STP process.

'Our property portfolio was a legal transfer as a result of the Health and Social Care Act and will continue to be owned and managed by us on behalf of our stakeholders. Ownership of the estate will not change as a result of STPs. We will continue to work with CCGs and others to ensure alignment and best possible use of the NHS estate.’

Readers' comments (10)

  • So the NHS will buy bits of the NHS. Its just baffling.

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  • Suddenly CCGs have millions to spend on property.

    SE hants is struggling to fund core services.

    My sources tell me there is huge controversy as they are spending money on Web GP services so they can reduce reception teams when they merge practices.

    And NHS prop co has a good record in looking after property??

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  • Azeem Majeed

    There are some potential benefits in CCGs holding these contracts. For example, my own practice in London shares a building with staff from an NHS Trust, which also happens to be the landlord. Although we need more space, we have not been able to get the NHS Trust to release any rooms to us. Having the NHS Trust as both landlord and tenant creates a conflict of interest that works against my practice.

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  • NHS propco is a wholly owned subsidary company of HMG - it's aim is to make money - "commercial" rents/leases/service charges (we dont receive a commercial value for our services). At some point it will be sold....

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  • Ah - a dispute about who owns the deckchairs on the Titanic.

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  • This is a normal evolution towards a salaried workforce and may resolve a major issue of ownership for partners who own the premises.
    Problem is with valuation of properties and whether this will be fair is a question remains to be answered. Nobody is going to sell off just for the sake of it, but let's be positive and wait for the details.

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  • Is actual money involved or is this a paper exercise. Either way it seems daft, and allows politicians to claim lots of money has been invested in property!!

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  • Under the happy tune of "Here we go round the mulberry bush" the premises carousel keeps spinning.

    Before NHS property services, the scheme was run by the PCTs, which were the predecessor of...the CCGs!

    Hunt or his successors will eventually pull the off lever when all GPs become salaried and/or locums, and no longer independent contractors charging rent.
    It won't be long now.

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  • 11:10 - wouldn't be worried about that too much. Rents will be paid by new owners-the CCGs or Propco would be paying itself exorbitant sums.
    Those who are salaried are more difficult to manage and will have little tolerance for maverick behaviour from any quarter. If they are pestered, they ask you for a plain sheet and fill in a resignation - that's what I did in my first two jobs 20 years ago and have always reminisced with satisfaction.

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  • I wonder how many people on here have actually dealt with premises both independently owned, owned by the PCT and then by Propco.

    Having done all 3 and left a practice partly because of having to deal with Propco i can tell you it is the worst of all worlds.

    They look after a lot of the day to day needs in terms of maintenance and H&S etc but it is very costly and a hassle for administration.

    The question is whether moving to being CCG owned would be an improvement? The proof is in the pudding. Better still would be the Practices who occupy the building being able to buy it. Having tried to do that they refuse to sell and you get stuck in a nightmare. Propco were one of the very worst elements of the Health and Social Care Act and there is enough competition for that title.

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