Posted on Jun 12, 2019 in Healthcare by Michael Royden
Our previous blogs on the GP Sustainability Loan scheme have highlighted that there are potential cost implications for GP contractors. In this blog, I will underline how time delays could also be encountered on the way to receiving the loan funds from a health board.
Firstly, there must be an open dialogue with existing lenders of GP premises. This is critical for gaining consent from the existing lender to the GP Sustainability Loan being registered against the premises. A ranking agreement needs to be in place with (1) the health board and (2) the existing lender, before funds are released by the health board. Any breakdown or lack of communication with the existing lender could result in significant delays in the process.
The names of the current partners are required to be on the title deeds of the premises in order to proceed with the GP Sustainability Loan and thus receive funds. If the title deeds are not up to date, a transfer of title would have to be signed by any former partners in favour of the current partners and then registered in the Land Register of Scotland before loan funds are released.
If a GP premises is not registered in the Land Register of Scotland and a transfer of title is needed then this will also trigger first registration of the title deeds of the premises. The GP contractor may be required to have a new deed plan drawn up for the premises and must have their solicitor submit a clear Plans Report to the health board confirming that there are no competing titles over the property.
In addition, it is understood that the NHS legal team will be handling the legal work in-house. Approximately 50% of the practices eligible for the loans successfully applied at the first round of funding and so this will result in the NHS legal team being placed under significant pressure to approve a lot of additional documentation, including being satisfied with the title of each GP premises.
Finally, one further stipulation by the health board is that the solicitor acting for the GP contractor must warrant that the premises complies with all necessary statutory requirements. This will involve checking that such documentation (such as energy performance certificates, electrical testing and risk assessments) is in place and potentially resulting in further costs to the GP contractor in obtaining these before proceeding. This, again, will also add to the time taken for the loan monies to be released as the due diligence process will be drawn out further. Therefore, it is important to be as prepared, and as up to date as possible, in order to prevent significant delays when completing GP Sustainability Loan process.
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