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BMA to take NHSPS to court over ‘unjustifiable’ service charge hikes

The BMA is to take NHS Property Services to court after years of practices facing ‘unjustifiable’ service charges.

GP leaders say the BMA will be ‘very shortly’ testing a legal claim in High Court on behalf of five practices, which have experienced ‘unjust’ service charge increases and fees.

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said ahead of today’s English LMCs Conference if the claim was successful, it will provide a template for more practices to defend claims in court.

It comes as the BMA previously threatened legal action against NHSPS earlier in June for ‘astronomical’ property charges.

Practices have seen charges made by NHS Property Services (NSHPS) double in the last three years. One practice even saw its service charge triple to over £100,000 in four years.

Dr Vautrey said: ‘It’s not acceptable that practices in NHS Property Services premises are left to pick up the cost of an unjustifiable hike in charges.

‘As such, we will very shortly be lodging a legal test claim in court which, if successful, would provide a template for GP practices to defend unlawful claims for service charges by NHSPS.

‘We must – and we will – stand up for GPs and take legal action when it’s necessary to defend our profession.’

The BMA said multiple practices had come forward with problems with NHSPS, including one that was invoiced for a lift that didn’t exist, and another that is said to have faced demands for charges which have already been paid to the local authority. Many practices were also presented with an unclear breakdown of charges, according to the BMA. 

An NHS Property Services spokesperson said they were unable to comment.

In July, Pulse revealed a GP practice had been asked by NHSPS to pay half a million in service charges for ‘non-existent’ services.