Clear and practical guidance on premises issues from our experts

Premises form the most crucial aspect of any medical practice as without them it is quite simply impossible to provide a service. Furthermore, unlike other types of accommodation (such as offices), it is not possible simply to find alternative medical premises down the road. Planning issues are always of paramount importance and particularly in the case of NHS premises, the DV and NHS Property Services have a significant impact on what you may wish to do.


A GP’s right to occupy can arise in a variety of different ways:

  • through owner-occupation
  • through being a tenant under a leasehold arrangement
  • through occupying premises owned/leased by a third party by way of a Licence (which offers no “legal interest” in the premises but simply offers “permission” to occupy).

Whether you are an owner or an occupier, it is essential to ensure that the basis of your occupation is clearly documented in order to avoid a subsequent dispute. From the owner’s perspective, it is crucial to ensure someone you regard as a mere occupier, should not acquire rights over your premises. On the other hand, as an occupier, you would wish to ensure that the owner would not be in a position to eject you, thus denying you the opportunity to continue your practice.

New developments in this area

The provision of new premises has been high on the Government agenda for the last few years. This has resulted in the rolling out of many new “polyclinic” type premises under both LIFT and 3PD. These are both extremely complicated arrangements and may require extensive negotiation in order to ensure the doctor/occupier is placed in a fair position and not exposed unduly to liability and risk. In addition, depending upon the nature of the arrangements in place, advice may be required with regard to issues relating to the construction themselves so as to ensure the occupiers are offered protection in the event of the premises not being built to the appropriate standard.

We were jointly instructed by Partnerships for Health and the BMA to write the Official Guide to LIFT on behalf of GPs which was circulated to 30,000 GPs around the UK – and are recognised as being strongly placed to advise GPs on all aspects of surgery developments.

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