As a medical professional, you need specialist legal advice to protect your practice, especially during these challenging times for your profession. You need a legal firm that understands the pressures you face and can give you proactive, imaginative advice that helps you stay ahead of the game.
We have a team of 20 cross-disciplinary specialist lawyers, which makes us one of the most significant specialist GP legal firms in the country. We’ve been in the medical arena for many years, so you can have confidence we know what we are talking about.
We work with GP practices and medical professionals nationwide and act for close to 100 surgeries. We frequently advise partnerships, federations and corporate providers on the following:
Advising groups of GPs on the potential legal vehicles and structures, and associated legal issues, surrounding Federating. Since the publication of the Five Year Forward Review, and the establishment of the first wave of Vanguard areas, the momentum in this area continues to grow. We have experience of advising GP groups from the fundamentals such as the legal structure, NHS contracting arrangements and pension issues, through to advising existing groups on more general property and employment arrangements as the federation begins operating contracts.
Drafting and reviewing partnership agreements
A Partnership Deed should be considered a fundamental document and requirement for every GP partnership. These constitutional documents should provide a structure and basis for the operation of the business, and recording agreements between the partners on important issues from taking holiday to profit shares.
We have experience of drafting agreements tailored to the needs of GPs from small two partner practices in a single, wholly owned property to large partnerships based across multiple sites (including both leased and owned property). Whilst every partnership is different, an individually drafted agreement underpinned by a firm understanding of the relevant NHS regulations is a requirement for all.
Partner arrivals and departures/partnership disputes
Whether partners are retiring or joining a practice, the basis upon which they are doing so should be governed by a Partnership Deed. Where changes to what has been previously agreed are made, these should be carefully documented. Where a retirement from the partnership is more contentious, perhaps being sought by partners against the will of a partner, it is essential that advice on the terms of the Partnership Deed is sought, to minimise the risks of a successful challenge to an expulsion. We have the relevant expertise in advising both partnerships and individual partners on all manner of expulsions, ranging from bankruptcy and misconduct through to poor performance and personality clashes.
Whether your practice is an “owner-occupied” premises or you are tenants under a lease, issues surrounding the premises from which you provide services will be a major consideration for you.
With the release of funding under the Primary Care Infrastructure Fund, greater moves towards developing integrated care in primary care settings and the ever-increasing scrutiny (by CQC and others) taking appropriate specialist advice on GP premises whenever you are considering changes will be vital.
We have experience of advising owner-occupiers and intended owner-occupiers on:
- financing or refinancing (including changing lenders or loan terms)
- purchase or sale of premises which can involve changes in partnership and increasingly, sale and leaseback arrangements
- reimbursement under the 2013 Premises Costs Directions
- developing new premises and extending/redeveloping existing premises
- NHS premises grants
We have experience of advising GP tenants on:
- issues arising between the landlord and the practice
- changes to the terms of the lease
- alterations to the parties on the lease (such as following retirement of a named tenant)
- NHS requirements for the lease for reimbursement of landlords
We regularly assist practices with:
- premises sharing arrangements with third parties
- CQC/Contractual requirements for GP Premises
Our solicitors have the relevant expertise you may require, whether you are a rural dispensing practice or owners of a community pharmacy in a town or city.
We can help with:
- applying for or and resisting applications to establish a pharmacy, including taking and defending appeals to the NHSLA on all matters relating to such applications (including the procedure adopted by NHSE, controlled and reserved location status, and challenges to the substantive merits of all types of application)
- agreeing commercial terms (including occupational arrangements) between a pharmacy and practice
- sale and purchase of pharmacy business/change of ownership applications
- application to change pharmacy locations.
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Last year, CQC proposed changes to its factual accuracy process and asked providers for their views, which included the introduction of a word limit for factual accuracy comments.