The BMA has written to NHS Property Services (NHSPS) asking it to urgently respond to concerns over the worrying rise in service fees faced by GP practices. If NHSPS does not respond, the BMA will consider legal action.
Over the last three years, practices leasing their surgeries from NHSPS have seen fees rise – some by more than double in a year – without agreement. In addition, they have been charged for services that they are not getting. Many practices fear they cannot meet the increased costs.
Examples of incorrect charging include the case of a practice that was invoiced for fees for a lift that didn’t exist, while others said they faced demands for charges that they had already paid to the local authority. Many said they simply did not have a clear breakdown of what the charges from NHSPS related to.
Despite repeated requests for clarification regarding the basis for these increases, NHPS has yet to provide the BMA with any proper explanation.
Now, in a letter of claim, BMA lawyers have set out in detail the reasons why it believes NHSPS is acting unlawfully. If no satisfactory response is received, the BMA says it intends to take NHSPS to court.
The BMA’s announcement comes as a critical report from the National Audit Office (NAO) concluded that NHSPS ‘lacks the power’ to recover fees from practices and other tenants.
Addressing members at the BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting (ARM) at the ICC Belfast today, Wednesday 27 June, Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee England chair, will say: “For years now some practices have faced astronomical rises in service charges, some seeing theirs more than double, often for services they have not asked for and do not receive.
“This is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue. And so I can tell you today that the BMA has sent a letter of claim to NHS Property Services and if they do not give us an acceptable response we intend to take them to court, and we intend to win.”