Utility charges are a bitter pill for medics

Paul Burton urges caution in dealings over new NHSPS leases.

Doctors in a number of surgeries have recently been hit with demands for large sums of money related to utilities, such as rent and rates, as well as clinical waste disposal, repairs and insurance.

The requests, which come from NHS Property Services, suggest the medical professionals are liable for payments stretching back over three years, which in some practices can produce figures that run into tens of thousands of pounds.

If you’ve already signed a lease with NHSPS, then you will clearly need to take legal advice on outstanding payments, but most practices haven’t actually signed. The pressure is on to agree to a new lease before the end of November 2017, in order to qualify for certain financial incentives. But many observers point out that the service charges potentially levied under the terms of the contract could end up outweighing any likely benefits.

The advice for the moment is to sit tight and arrange appointments with your accountants and lawyers to weight up the potential repercussions of any decision. At a time when the NHS is clearly short of funds, pressures are created at every point in the system. But you don’t want your own medical practice to be losing out.