Advising the BMA on legal test claims against NHS Property Services

Our client, the British Medical Association (BMA), is backing several test cases in relation to NHS Property Services (NHSPS) forcing charges on GP surgeries. The ongoing claims have been listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 litigation cases of 2022.

Back in 2013, 3,600 government-owned GP surgeries were transferred to NHSPS, which is controlled by the UK Government. Three years later, NHSPS implemented a ‘consolidated charging policy’, with the stated aim of levying charges against the surgeries for rent, maintenance and service charges.

But since then, hundreds of surgeries across the country reported to the BMA that NHSPS had attempted to charge them unjustly (not in accord with the contractual terms of their leases, for services they do not receive, and sums which are vastly inflated from those charged before the transfer).

As the BMA’s legal advisers, we helped the trade union to stand up for GPs and press ahead with five legal test claims that could provide useful guidance for hundreds of practices faced with similar such demands for inflated charges.

Stephen Meade, who leads Capital Law’s Disputes team, instructed Gatehouse Chambers’ John de Waal QC and Katrina Mather to represent the five selected GP practices (Valley View Health Care Centre, Coleford Family Doctors, Bushbury Health Centre, St Andrews Medical Centre, St Keverne Health Centre) and to challenge the basis upon which NHSPS is charging its GP practice tenants for service charges and facilities management costs.

This is a case of national significance: if successful, GPs across England could be saved from financial ruin amid rising costs. As the pandemic continues to put unprecedented pressure on medical professions, the court ruling will be highly anticipated next March, and has been selected by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 litigation cases of 2022.