3PD and Hubco Occupancy Agreements
We offer GP practices advice on health centre premises procurement commissioned through a Private Finance Initiative model such as Scottish Futures Trust hub agreements or 3PD leases which are financed by a private sector developer with rent reimbursement through current market rent. We have acted as legal advisers for several GP practices in recent medical centre developments, for example, those procured by the Scottish Futures Trust route.
We are willing to offer advice to GPs right from the start of a proposed project. In our experience projects work best if GPs know exactly what their legal responsibilities will be and what options they have from the very outset. That way GPs - and the local NHS service - can avoid wasting large amounts of time and money in pursuing non-viable projects.
It is important for a practice to use a solicitor who fully understands the different models of premises provision commonly used by Health Boards and developers. To take a 3PD lease as one example, most developers will want this to be in a very standard form and a poorly advised practice may not realise the changes they could or need to make to the agreement. Our starting position is to argue that 3PD leases are not the same as genuine private sector leases in that the landlords, unlike in the private sector, are virtually guaranteed payment of rent through the rent reimbursement scheme.
Often the changes we manage to negotiate are “in the detail” of the lease. Detailed changes made to a lease by lawyers who know what they are doing may ensure GPs are not exposed to contingent risks and may even save GPs many thousands of pounds in the longer term.
We would adopt this approach in negotiations with solicitors acting for the 3PD developer or health board solicitor on the terms of the development agreement, leases and construction guarantees to be provided to GP practices.
Members of our property team have acted for health boards and GP practices in a number of PFI and 3PD lease transactions and are familiar with the issues that tend to arise. Projects in which we have acted include:
• a major multi-purpose medical facility in the centre of Edinburgh (in which we acted for three GP practices and the local Health Board)
• a purpose-built medical centre forming part of the main student campus building at one of Scotland’s major universities
• several medical centres combining GP practice and local Trust accommodation in Edinburgh, West Lothian and Midlothian (in each case we acted for both the GP practice and the local Health Board)
• GP practice premises at Dumfriesshire and Edinburgh
• a one-off specially negotiated lease between the local PCT and a Fife GP practice which led to the construction of a new health centre building.