Judgment in BMA / NHSPS Service Charge Dispute

The High Court has released its long-awaited judgment in five “test cases” where GP practices, with the support of the BMA, have challenged service charges demanded by NHS Property Services Ltd.

The 170 page judgment, will be of interest and concern to many GP practices that occupy NHSPS premises up and down the country. Whilst it is complex and the ramifications will take time to become clear, key points to note are:

  • NHSPS successfully argued that it was entitled to claim service charges notwithstanding the absence, in some cases, of written agreements with the practices;
  • The precise amounts recoverable from each practice are subject to a second trial possibly taking place 12 to 18 months from now;
  • The judge expressed hope that the judgment will assist NHSPS and other GP practices in resolving disputes over services charges without the need for expensive litigation, but he cautioned that he would be wary of classifying these as test cases given that each case depends upon evidence and arguments in that case; and
  • The BMA has stressed that these particular cases are not over and it is considering next steps.

If you are affected by any of these issues, please feel free to contact our GP property team.