Colyton Health Centre
Health Scrutiny requests the CCG and NHS Property Services to sort out the Colyton Health Centre charges dispute with the GP Practice
My item at the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee yesterday led to the committee requesting the Devon Clinical Commissioning Group as well as NHS Property Services (the landlords) to get together with the Seaton and Colyton Medical Practice to sort out the excessive service charges demanded by NHSPS.
Colyton Health Centre maintenance charges problem is widespread since NHS Property Services took over, according to GP Online
Seaton and Colyton Medical Practice are not alone in experiencing savagely increased maintenance charges at Colyton Health Centre (pictured).
GP Online reported in January: ‘GP leaders have been warning since 2016 that huge extra costs imposed through service charge hikes could force practices to close if they were not reversed.
‘GPC premises lead Dr Krishna Kasaraneni told GPonline: “In recent years, GPs leasing their surgery buildings from NHSPS have been hit by rocketing service charges and maintenance fees, forcing many practices into financial difficulties, and ultimately leading some to consider their viability and whether they can continue to offer the same care to patients in future.
The article also reveals that bosses earned five-figure bonuses … on top of five-figure salaries! Dr Kasaraneni added: ‘”At a time when the NHS is under so much financial pressure and NHSPS publicly blames these same practices for its £40.9m deficit, it adds insult to injury to learn it has paid its top executives such sky-high bonuses.”‘
When ownership of Colyton Health Centre was handed over to NHS Property Services, maintenance charges soared while actual maintenance deteriorated. The matter is going to Health Scrutiny next week.
Seaton and Colyton Medical Practice have been fighting a long-running battle over rapidly rising charges for the Health Centre. Total maintenance charges rose from £5556 in 2015-16 (the last year before NHS Property Services took over) to £15,422.66 in 2016-17 and £34,657.39 in 2017-18, with the threat of their topping £40,000 this year. As users will realise, these are ludicrous figures for a building the size of a small bungalow, and the Practice is contesting them.
At the same time, actual service under the maintenance contract has been lamentable – the Centre was still without hot water last week after the boiler broke down in June. The Practice has brought the matter to my attention and I have put it on the agenda of the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee next Tuesday (pp 87-90).
NHS Property Services is a company set up by the Government to manage the NHS estate, with a mandate to charge commercial rents and, where appropriate, sell ‘surplus’ property. The Health Centre was handed over to the company in 2016, along with our community hospitals, when the RD&E took over our area from the North Devon trust.