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Dr Sella Shanmugadasan: ‘We were threatened with bailiffs’

I had a shock recently because I received a court summons for non-payment of £28,000 of business rates. It was for money that was owed by our practice in Tower Hamlets, London to our local council.

This has arisen because of problems since PCTs were phased out and new methods of paying and reimbursing GPs were brought in. Our PCT used to pay the business rates each month and we were told that this responsibility would be passed on to the new organisation, NHS England.

But NHS England has not been paying, and so we found we owed this large amount of money. On the summons we were told to come to Thames Magistrates Court in London on 9 July. It said that bailiffs could come to our premises to take away any items of value if we did not pay, and so if that happened it would effectively mean that we couldn’t run the practice.

Luckily we have been in touch with the Council and sorted it out. We now no longer have to go to court. We have agreed to pay the amount to the council in seven monthly instalments of £4,000. NHS England has still not given us any money though, and we can only afford to give about two or three payments before we run out of money.

A big part of the problem is that it has been incredibly difficult to make contact with NHS England because they don’t seem to have any individuals that we can phone or fax or even email to sort things out.

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