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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GP partners will have to foot half of overdue premises bill, says minister

GPs will have to stump up over £60m in outstanding premises fees from their own pockets, the Department of Health has revealed.

As Pulse broke the news today that NHS Property Services claims GP practices owe £91.5m in outstanding fees, health minister Philip Dunne said an additional £31.6m was owed by GP practice tenants of Community Health Partnership (CHP) - adding up to a total of £123m.

And Mr Dunne added that only around half of this money, £61.6m, is reimbursable to practices by NHS England.

Last week, NHS England and NHS Property Services both told Pulse they were unable to determine how much of the bill would be reimbursable and how much GPs would have to fund themselves.

But responding to a parliamentary written question on the subject, Mr Dunne said: 'These are the total costs charged to GP tenants that are outstanding for the years since the two companies took on their head-tenant role upon the abolition of primary care trusts in 2013.

‘Approximately half of this outstanding debt for both companies relates to reimbursable costs (rent, business rates, water rates and clinical waste collection).’

It comes as premises costs have been increasing as part of an NHS England drive to ensure practices are charged the market value for their properties, where previously many were on outdated and informal contracts inherited from PCTs.

But Pulse has documented practices being hit by £60,000 increases to the non-refundable 'service charge' element of the bill covering maintenance and services in communal areas.

The GPC has advised practices not to agree to increased charges or new leases without legal advice and has not ruled out its own legal action to find a solution which 'doesn’t expose practices to unreasonable and uncapped charges'.

When Pulse first revealed the size of the overdue bill, GP leaders welcomed practice’s 'resolve' in resisting pressure from NHS PS and NHS England.

They called for all parties to re-enter negotiations to find a solution that does not risk destabilising practices.

Commenting on the new information, BMA GP Committee premises lead Dr Ian Hume said: 'If we have the clarity from the DH that half of that shortfall in [non-reimbursable] service charges, that is helpful as it shows the size of the problem. Practices are not going to be able to sustain such a hike.'

YearTotal costs charged to GP tenants of Community Health Partnerships outstanding £millionTotal costs charged to GP tenants of NHS Property Services that are outstanding £million

2016/17

14.6

55.1

2015/16

13.4

27.8

2014/15

1.3

8.6

2013/14

2.3

 

Totals

31.6

91.5

Source: House of Commons

Readers' comments (11)

  • Azeem Majeed

    The BMA & GPC should be negotiating with NHS England to make service charges 100% reimbursable, just as rent and some other property costs already are.

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  • could you publish the parliamentary question and the reply?

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  • You can read the full exchange via the 'source' link at the bottom of the article.

  • Stupidity, stupidity, stupidity.
    In any other business, if business costs go up, the cost is passed to the consumer.
    If the government wants NHSPS to operate like a normal business leasing properties to GPs, they have to accept we GPs have to operate like a normal business as well: increase the charges by all means, but accept that we have to increase our costs to NHSE to cover these operating cost increases, or we all go out of business.
    They can't have it both ways.

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  • link is not really user friendly

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  • Charged the market value, when they are getting out services at a public sector discount, what a bunch of gangsters we have in charge.Sub inflation rate increases in funding for over a decade!!!!!!Should be sub inflation rate service charges as well then.

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  • " GPC has not ruled out legal action" what are they waiting for?

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  • Divide and rule,
    Those who OWN the premises think they are sitting pretty, watching unconcerned those whose premises are owned by the Government/DH/NHS Property Services. They don't realise that once the principle of reimbursement is compromised, THEY ARE NEXT.
    Meanwhile, back at the serene atmosphere of Tavistock Square, our "leaders" are preparing their speeches "...humbled and honoured to receive my OBE, CBE, KBE..."

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  • those who use premises not owned by them can leave practice any time. owning premises only binds you to same practice for life. they will not find another gp who will pay for premises rent when they want to replace gps. you can leave practice and reapply for same job with your terms and conditions

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  • Strange ...and rather difficult situation! You have my sympathies.

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  • ..just NHSEngland looking for another "outwardly defensible " way to destabilise practices. Imagine Daily Fail headline "GP Fatcats forced to pay the same rent as the rest of us out of their £200k pay packet" . I agree that the BMA aren't going to take this one on.....

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