Rising property charges putting pressure on hundreds on GP practices

GP practices and health centres across the UK are struggling under financial pressure spurred on by “incomprehensible” increases to property charges of up to 1,000 per cent – which in some cases means bills of up to tens of thousands of pounds.

Recent reports suggest that that hundreds of health centres across the country could face closure.

NHS Property Services (NHSPS), which manages buildings for many GPs, has increased its charges and backdated them to April 2016. As a result of this, many GPs face huge bills that could lead to them cutting nursing and support staff.

Some GPs have refused to pay the charges, meaning they are being threatened with legal action and debt collection agencies.

One surgery in Surrey has even admitted it would be forced to close if the proposed rent and service charges increase, as per their bill, from £755.46 to 8,800 per month.

The surgery reportedly received a bill of more than £85,000 for the 2016/17 year for rent and service charges, including almost £35,000 for ‘building maintenance’.

NHSPS also asked the practice to sign a 25-year lease on the property demanding that they fully repair the centre which, according to the practice’s lead partner, has had “virtually no maintenance for 50 years”.

However, a public outcry following publication of these figures has forced NHSPS to say it will revise the bills in this instance.

A spokesperson for NHSPS has admitted that the figures for this particular practice are incorrect and said the organisation is in contact with the surgery and others to see how they can help their situation.

The spokesperson went on to say that they have been getting better information about the space their customers occupy, which is one reason why some are seeing costs increase, while others are seeing costs fall.

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