GP Surveyors challenged Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT’s local dispute procedure after representing a GP client whose surgery was being underfunded in the Notional Rent reimbursement it receives.
New Surgery is a purpose built surgery located in Folkstone, Kent. With over 9000 patients, the surgery has expanded over recent years and in 2003 had an extension to accommodate the growing needs of the practice.
Sue Chandler, Practice Manager at New Surgery explains; “We were contacted by GP Surveyors via a mailshot and after speaking with our assigned Client Manager about the procedure I put the idea forward to the partners at the practice. After receiving our Notional Rent figure from the District Valuer we decided to instruct GP Surveyors to challenge it on our behalf in 2008.”
The original rental figure produced by the District Valuer (DV) was £47,000. GP Surveyors assigned a surveyor to the case, Paul Conlan, who initially followed Eastern and Coastal Kent’s (ECK) Local Procedure. Submissions were sent to the PCT challenging the DV’s opinion of the initial value and after reviewing these, ECK sought additional advice from the DV who subsequently increased their figure to £52,000.
“We referred the matter through the Dispute Resolution Process at the NHSLA”
This new figure was deemed to be insufficient by GP Surveyors, who continued to challenge through the local procedure. The PCT referred the matter to their Appointed Surveyor to investigate and then report to the Estates Working Group (EWG). This resulted in them contesting that £52,000 was excessively high and that they would have actually valued below this level. EWG subsequently confirmed that £52,000 was the correct figure and would not increase this figure.
Paul Conlan, Managing Chartered Surveyor at GP Surveyors explains; “To progress the case to reach an agreement we then referred the matter through the Dispute Resolution Process at the NHSLA, where the RICS appointed Expert Advisor who was appointed to conclude the case determined that a fair rental would be £58,000.
This figure was then endorsed by the NHSLA which meant that we were able to agree a settlement with an increase of £11,000 per annum above the District Valuer’s initial offer which equates to a 23 per cent increase for the surgery.”
“Doctors in the region should seek specialist advice if they wish to challenge their Notional Rent figures”
Sue Chandler explains; “The new valuation allows the property owning partners to know what their investment is truly worth and may help in planning for their futures. The extra income from the increase will be of assistance in keeping the building in good order and fully maintained.”
“Although our review turned into a seventeen month marathon this was not due to either us or GP Surveyors. The whole process other than time delay was painless and did not involve very much work for me.”
Paul Conlan ends; “This case was unusual in the time it took to resolve. The majority of our cases are settled within a few months, however where there is a dispute and the NHSLA are involved, they can become lengthier. From this case we conclude that the local procedure in Eastern and Coastal Kent might not be in the Doctors best interests and therefore Doctors in the region should seek specialist advice if they wish to challenge their notional rent figures”