Legal support for general practitioners

Contact our GP advice line

Dial 020 7839 0278 and ask for the GP Advice Line.

Our team of experts can offer GPs and members of their teams up to ten minutes’ free preliminary advice with a solicitor.

A dedicated national team providing expert advice at the point of need

We have a substantial team of specialist solicitors providing expert advice to general practitioners on a day to day basis. We act for thousands of GPs and around 350 practices. We can help you exploit the new opportunities available to general practitioners in the changing healthcare system, as well as offering practical solutions to assist in resolving the day to day problems that arise in a busy practice.

How can we help?

Alliances, provider organisations, joint ventures, primary care networks & closer working

Our specialist team members have between them assisted with the formation of over 100 provider organisations, alliances, primary care networks and other joint ventures. We advise on the different options for joint working and associated issues such as data sharing, IT and intellectual property issues, NHS pensions employing authority status, NHS contracting, tendering for contracts, regulatory compliance (including CQC requirements), competition issues, sharing and secondment of staff and premises arrangements. We also advise on participation in accountable care organisations and other new models of care.

Partnership agreements

A partnership agreement is essential for ensuring the stability and effective governance of a partnership practice. A well drafted agreement can help to reduce the risk of disputes arising in the first place and be a tool to help resolve disputes. Based on our knowledge of the sector and our experience of working with hundreds of practices, we can prepare for you a partnership agreement which is tailored to the specific requirements and challenges of general practice. We can also prepare deeds of adherence to ensure that new partners are bound by the practice agreement, deeds of variation to deal with agreed changes to the agreement and deeds of retirement for outgoing partners.

Practice mergers, acquisitions and incorporations

We can guide you through each step of the process, including providing advice on the different structural models for practices (including limited companies and super partnerships), due diligence, preservation of NHS contracts, dealing with CQC requirements, negotiation of merger terms, transfer of assets and dealing with associated employment and property issues.

Succession arrangements for retiring partners/principals & 24 hour retirement

We can advise sole practitioners and smaller partnerships who are planning for the future of their practice, whether that is through a merger with another practice, the admission of new partners to continue the practice or winding up the practice. We can also assist with arrangements for practitioners wishing to retire temporarily in order to trigger their NHS pension benefits.

Employment

We advise on the full range of employment issues, including employment contracts and the application and implications of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations on the incorporation, acquisition or merger of practices and formation of joint ventures. We can also advise on secondment arrangements and disciplinary and dismissal procedures, including redundancy.

Property ownership, leases, transfers and developments

We assist with the acquisition and disposal of freehold and leasehold property, surgery construction, development and refurbishment (including arrangements with third party developers), sales and leasebacks and transfers of property interests between partners. We also advise on NHS premises costs reimbursement and prepare declarations of trust to document the arrangements governing jointly owned premises where these arrangements are not dealt with in the practice’s partnership agreement. We can also prepare surgery leases and advise on the terms of leases held by or being entered into by a practice.

NHS contracts and regulations

We advise practitioners on NHS contracts (including both primary care contracts and the NHS Standard Contract) and associated regulations and directions. We also advise on issues arising from the Performers List Regulations.

GMC investigations

We provide advice on all GMC matters including performance reviews, registration appeals, specialist list appeals, and representation at fitness to practise hearings.

Clinical negligence claims

Our team, which includes dual qualified clinicians/lawyers who bring particular insight and understanding to the management of such claims, provides advice to doctors and other healthcare practitioners on the defence of clinical negligence claims and, where appropriate, when to seek early resolution.

GPs as commissioners

We have an in-depth understanding of the commissioning of services by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and NHS England. We advise CCGs on commercial, governance, employment and estates issues, including the roles of general practitioners within CCGs. This includes advising on statutory issues, conflicts of interest, and the procurement of services, in particular the mitigation of risk.

Commercial contracts and procedures

All commercial contracts carry a degree of risk, irrespective of their contractual value and term. We can draft, review and negotiate commercial contracts on your behalf, as well as provide succinct and practical advice on the correct contractual mechanism to follow, thus minimising contractual risk to your practice.

Disputes

Unfortunately, disputes can and do sometimes arise between partners and the effects can be devastating for a practice and the individuals concerned. Our team is experienced in handling complex and sensitive disputes, the aim always being to reach a satisfactory resolution without recourse to formal proceedings. Where this is not possible, our team of specialist litigators can assist with arbitration and court processes. We also advise on disputes between practitioners or practices and third parties, such as landlords or subcontractors.

 

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Have you got your Primary Care Network Agreement ready?

We are inviting Clinical Directors and PCN leads to attend a free seminar on 30 May in London, where you will be able to raise questions about the role of Clinical Directors and what you need to include in the Primary Care Network Agreement that all practices will be required to enter - and a checklist of practical steps to prepare for the changes ahead.

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Newcastle Seminar: Primary Care Networks – the final countdown

We are inviting Clinical Directors and PCN leads to attend a free seminar on Thursday 6 June in Newcastle where you will be able to raise questions about your PCN structure and governance arrangements, the role of Clinical Directors and what you need to include in the Network Agreement.

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