Standardised lease agreements are being drawn up for GPs in formerly-PCT owned premises and their new landlord, NHS Property Services, but they are not likely to be ready before the handover in April says the GPC.
Pulse can reveal that the NHS Commissioning Board and the Department of Health are drawing up plans for a standardised lease agreement for GPs’ premises to replace the dizzying variety of formal and informal arrangements that currently exist between surgeries and their former PCT landlords.
GPC negotiator and premises expert Dr Peter Holden said that such a template could reduce the likelihood of disputes between GPs and their landlords regarding lease payments or responsibility for building repairs and maintenance.
The NHS Commissioning Board could not say whether the template would be ready for the April deadline when PCTs are formally dissolved.
The NHS Property Services company – known as PropCo – is managing properties transferred from PCTs, but the DH has assured GPs that their existing rights as occupiers – even those not formalised in writing – will be maintained and that they will not face eviction as a result of the transfers.
Dr Holden said that many different leasing arrangements have developed over the years between GPs and landlords. ‘Some GPs have formal leases, some have licences to occupy and others have nothing other than what are effectively squatters’ rights.
‘If a licence is standardised we will all be able to see from a million miles if anyone is trying to pull a fast one.’
He did not believe that the template would be ready for the PCT handover in April. ‘I don’t know any lawyers that work that fast,’ he said.
An NHS Commissioning Board spokesperson said: ‘A single lease agreement is being worked upon and details of the agreement will be made available when the terms have been agreed.’
GPs in some regions are being warned not to sign any lease agreements drawn up locally. Yorkshire and Humberside LMC, said in a newsletter: ‘Should any practice in a PCT-owned health centre receive a request to sign a lease agreement we would advise that practices do not sign at this stage.’