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GP practice given three months to vacate premises

GP practice given three months to vacate premises

A GP practice in South London was given three months to vacate its premises following a property dispute between former and current partners.

Carshalton Fields Surgery could face closure next month with patients dispersed to other practices, after the building’s owners and former practice partners gave notice to evict the surgery.

Practice manager Trevor Desa told Pulse that an arrangement fell through to buy the property when the lease came to an end in January.

Conservative MP for Carshalton and Wallington Elliot Colburn started a petition to support the surgery to either secure a longer term to leave the premises, or to re-open discussions about buying out the property, and also raised the issue with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during PMQs.

But Mr Desa said that staff are ‘effectively working to be out of the building by the end of April’, either with their patient list dispersed or undergoing a potential merger with a nearby practice to continue to provide services in the area.

He added: ‘The time is tight, so that is the difficulty. Our patient group has written to the landlords asking them to give us more time, and they came back with more time but a rent hike, which is unreasonable for us. So we have been forced to either close or merge with another practice.’

South West London ICB told Pulse that since the surgery’s building is privately owned, under the lease agreement ‘there is no legal route for the NHS to challenge the sale’.

An ICB spokesperson said: ‘We are actively working with the practice to try to resolve this difficult situation – and will make sure that registered patients continue to have access to GP services locally.’

Mr Colburn said: ‘Thousands of people in Carshalton could lose access to vital NHS services as the landlords of a local GP surgery have given notice to evict the practice, forcing patients to scramble for alternative healthcare.

‘I have joined forces with Carshalton Beeches patient group, calling on the current landlords to increase the notice period by at least six months so healthcare provision can be secured for patients.

‘The decision taken by the landlords will have huge repercussions for our local community. The surgery supports some seriously ill people, people with comorbidities, children and elderly patients – it is unacceptable to put them in a position where they cannot access primary healthcare. 

‘Other GP services in the area already have a full intake of patients, it would be unrealistic for them to take on 4,000 patients in the space of the notice given.’

Responding to Mr Colburn’s question in Parliament, the Prime Minister said: ‘GP leases are commercial agreements between landlords and tenants but he is right, everything that can be done should be done to ensure that GP surgeries do not have to close.’

In November, the RCGP called on chancellor Jeremy Hunt to address ‘unsafe’ GP premises with a cash injection of £2bn.

Meanwhile, three Kent GP practices housed in outdated buildings are ‘at risk of eviction’ in the next few months, but plans for new premises have met opposition.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

A B 19 March, 2024 12:10 pm

In the UK the “rights” of a few rich property owners to make lots of money quite obviously trump the “rights” of thousands of less affluent ill and dependant people to access tax payer funded health care. Its great that we have had our multimillionaire Prime Minister confirm for who’s benefit this country is being run.

So the bird flew away 19 March, 2024 12:39 pm

Agree with you. This sort of situation isn’t new and I don’t understand why the NHS, as a public body, hasn’t developed experience/precedence in using compulsory purchase order legislation to buy such property so that the current GP services can continue uninterrupted…

Simon Gilbert 19 March, 2024 12:39 pm

If the current partners want to buy the building at the market rate they could. Not sure why the previous partners have to keep that asset providing an insecure 3 month lease indefinitely just because new partner won’t buy the building.

Simmering Frog 19 March, 2024 12:44 pm

Looking at the building in google maps, being honest it isn’t fit for purpose as a modern GP practice.

No slight meant on the actual practice which seems very good.

David Church 19 March, 2024 12:49 pm

It is possible that the owners have ‘negative equity’ on a loan to buy the building in the past, meaning that they cannot afford to take a purchase price below the amount needed to pay off the mortgage, yet that amount may be hugely above the current open market value.
It is not impossible for the NHS to purchase the premises at a price negotiated to resolve the ‘negative equity’ problem, and then allow the current practice to stay at a fair cost-rent.
Since NHS can negotiate cost-rents or notional rents, NHS could most rapidly support the current Prctice to afford the higher rental agreement being offered, but obviously the local NHS structures DO NOT WANT to do what might be necessary to keep the practice running locally, no?

Not on your Nelly 19 March, 2024 1:43 pm

It is foolish to criticise the landlords without knowing what position they are in. It is the responsibility of the icb to sort out patient care , not the private landlords. The owners can and should do as they please, without criticism from the peanut gallery. We do still live in a country where people have freedom to make decisions if they own property. Right?

Maria Carrasco 19 March, 2024 7:45 pm

As the sole partner involved in this dispute and to be clear- there was an agreement in place for me to buy the property at above the valued price for the purpose as a GP surgery which was going to complete at the end of January. Three days prior to the ten year lease ending on 19th January, the landlords pulled out of the sale with no reason. A week later I was told I was trespassing as the lease had expired and given a three month eviction notice.
No one is saying the landlords do not have a right to sell but the timing of all of this has left me with no choices at all other than to disperse my list of 4000 patients or merge. This is the issue!
Bowing to pressure from various sources for the landlords to then grant a minor extension but for 25% more rent per month is still leaving me with those two options.
For all those with supportive comments – thank you. For those who think anything else- maybe you now understand the situation.

So the bird flew away 19 March, 2024 8:42 pm

Thank you for explaining, Dr Carrasco, and I would think that all parties should be putting the patients’ interest first. Clearly as the current sole principal you are, and the ICB appear to be. One could expect more flexibility from the landlords (who are ex-partners?) – I’m assuming the patients are their former patients so they may still entertain feelings of care towards them. My view is that if one has enjoyed the fruits and income of a lifetime of GP partnership, rent payments and now an excellent pension, then the landlords would be doing a good thing by coming to an accommodation with you. Good luck.