£422 million is owed to the National Health Service’s (NHS) property company in unpaid bills due to disputes with tenants.
Making up around 10 per cent of the NHS estate, the NHS Property Service has been swamped with tenant disputes due to, what Dr Krishna Kasaraneni of the British Medical Association (BMA) is calling “astronomical increases in service charges and facility management fees.”
The NHS Property Service, who run properties across the UK such as doctors’ surgeries and hospitals, have confirmed that the amount of overdue payments owed has risen by £8 million from last year up to a total of £422.4 million as the struggling tenants are refusing to “hand over cash they do not have.”
While some tenants have flat out refused to pay the bills, others, such as Whyburn Medical Practice, have been forced to dissolve the GPs partnership and give its contract back to the NHS due to the lack of financial viability.
The NHS Property service has argued that it only charges tenants the operating costs of their buildings, and has no intention of making any profit, adding that they “continue to apply market rents in the same way as other landlords to NHS tenants.”
Dr Kasaraneni, in an impassioned statement, has said: “At a time when GPs are facing extreme financial pressures, providing unlimited high-quality care to a rising, ageing population that is more commonly presenting with a number of complex conditions, these unilateral price rises could lead to practices being forced to shut down.”