Posted on 08 November 2011.

Neil Mason FRICS writes: As our latest Medical Property News goes to press, the Health and Social Care Bill has been released. The Bill is essentially about commissioning and provision at Primary Care level along with the acceleration of initiatives to move elements of acute care from the NHS estate to the community.

The Bill does not clarify where ownership of the main NHS estate will sit nor the mechanism for future/new Primary Care property funding. Will the existing Notional Rent provision under the Doctors Rent and Rates Scheme continue, or will it be partly or totally revamped with some form of capitation formula? So much of the recent Primary Care provision has been under the Notional Rent formula it will be difficult to take a retrospective approach.

Private funding, and future provision will be increasingly reliant upon this, has been forthcoming because of the secure ‘government backed’ long leases available in the sector and any move to a more flexible approach with short leases may destabilise this.

What is absolutely clear in a number of surveys is that a very high proportion of GP practice premises suffer from functional or physical obsolescence. Inevitably there will be a hiatus in funding availability whilst the ‘new world’ unfolds but the requirement to provide a robust and tenable business case will be essential to ensure your project is at the top of the list when funding again moves forward.