Having a contract in writing: why you need one and why it's a good investment

Many business deals are concluded by “Gentleman’s Agreements”. These can work for people and businesses - until there is an issue or uncertainty. Unfortunately, deals and relationships in business can, and do, go wrong for many reasons....

Funding in the health and care sector - ten years on

Recent anniversaries of events such as the closure of the US bank Lehman Brothers and the near collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland ten years ago bring back unpleasant memories for some of us of the global financial crisis. In the aftermath, businesses of all...

Should your GP surgery lease contain a break clause?

When negotiating a new lease, there are lots of terms to consider. Whilst GP surgery leases are fairly similar to standard commercial leases, there are specific points that should be considered when negotiating the terms of the practice lease. Consideration...

Partnership retirement and restructuring

Birkett Long acted for the Partners of a GP Practice and their Bank (in connection with the financial arrangements) in relation to the retirement of a Partner. The work involved restructuring the GPs loans to newly appointed and continuing Partners who run...

Workers are entitled to be paid holiday pay

Early in November the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decided that employees and workers are entitled to be paid holiday pay which includes non-guaranteed overtime.   This is on the basis that such pay (like certain bonuses and commission from cases...

Premises: perils and opportunities

Whatever your health-related or social care business or undertaking, your premises may give you the opportunity of revenue from sharing or subletting space to other occupiers.  This can provide useful and in some cases vital income streams. ...

The Social Care Commitment

In September 2013 The Social Care Commitment was launched by the Department of Health.  One year on, has it actually made a difference? What is The Social Care Commitment? The Social Care Commitment (TSCC) is a voluntary agreement between adult...

Be careful who you sleep in with!

Risks for the care sector With the National Minimum Wage (NMW) planned to be one of the Labour Party’s central policy items in the run up to the general election next year, involving significant increases in amounts paid, the subject remains a very...

On the side of the employer? New legislation and the care sector

Changes to employment legislation over the last couple of years have certainly favoured employers, including in particular the requirement (in most cases) of two years’ service to bring a claim of unfair dismissal, the introduction of fees for...

Corporate accountability for health and social care providers

In the Minister for Care and Support, Norman Lamb’s report, published in March 2014, recording the response to the consultation on strengthening corporate accountability in health and social care, the Minister confirmed the intention to introduce new...

Out with the old

The Care Act has received Royal Assent and with its introduction come big changes for care providers. The Care Act 2014 (the Act) is split into three parts, each dealing with a different aspect of care, carers and the law.  The first part deals with...

The headache of a hold over lease

It is in the best interests of both landlord and tenant to ensure that a new lease is in place to take effect from the date of termination of the old lease.  This will avoid problems which can arise where the tenant remains in occupation after that date...

Breaking up is hard to do, well it should be unless your contract is rubbish!

Business lawyers are often consulted by clients who have entered into a contract with a customer or supplier, when that customer or supplier is seeking to pull out of the contract.  Our clients want to know whether the other party can simply walk away...

Zero hours contracts and the care sector

In our previous winter issue we considered the thorny issue of employee status for carers “employed” on a zero hours contract.  Since then, this topic has grabbed the legal and political headlines with both the Government and the...

The importance of checking contractual terms

A recent case highlighted the importance of checking contractual terms of supply when entering into a contract and of maintaining a careful review over the contract’s lifetime. In this instance, the parties had entered into a long term contract for...

Beware the use of zero hours contracts!

These contracts are designed to avoid an employment relationship from arising by stating words to the effect that there is no obligation on the employer to provide work, and the individual is free to accept any work offered, or not, and is also able to...

Controversial regulations redrafted

Controversial regulations based on section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013, came into force on 1 April 2013. The regulations impose requirements on...

Break clauses in healthcare leases - avoid the traps

Many present day healthcare leases contain a “break clause” which gives the tenant the right to terminate the lease before the end of its term. Landlords will often include conditions attaching to the break clause such as: The rent has been...

GP Partnership Agreements - is yours up to date?

When did you review your practice’s partnership agreement last? Things are always changing and particular changes, like a partner leaving or joining the practice, can be a good reason to get your agreement reviewed and updated.  Even if there...

GP revalidation - five key things to do now

Revalidation is likely to be introduced across the UK in December 2012, starting with responsible officers in the first few months, although the majority of licensed doctors will be revalidated for the first time by the end of March 2016. The RCGP Guide to...

Why are lasting powers of attorney so important for care home residents?

Running a care home can be stressful - managing budgets and administration, keeping residents and their families happy and ensuring consistent ongoing care and support.  This burden increases when a resident has an accident, becomes unwell or loses...

Health and Social Care Act 2012

On 27 March 2012, the Health and Social Care Bill 2010-12 received Royal Assent to become the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (“Act”). Key reforms under the Act include the introduction of clinical commissioning groups with responsibility for...

Care sector appoints red tape champion

The Care Providers’ Alliance, a coalition of a range of the care sector’s representative bodies, has appointed Dame Denise Platt as its Red Tape Champion. Dame Denise, who has unrivalled experience of the care sector and is respected by both the...

Government announces changes to Health & Social Care Bill

Following suspension of the sweeping reforms to be implemented under the Health & Social Care Bill, the Government has announced that it has listened to fears about increased competition and more powers for GPs and will now slow the pace of change. Key...

Reform for adult social care laws

The legal framework for the provision of adult social care services is long overdue and the Law Commission’s final report setting out recommendations for the reform paves the way for the introduction of a single act for adult social care, equivalent to...

Will regulations lower the quality of care in the healthcare industry?

From 1 October 2011 agency workers gained the right to be treated in the same way as any employee employed directly by the care provider.  The exact impact of these Regulations remains to be seen but suggestions are that they will increase staffing...

Adult social care excellence award scheme abandoned

Following the Care Quality Commission’s ('CQC') consultation on proposals for a new excellence award scheme for adult social care services in England, originally to be launched in April 2012, the Department of Health has confirmed that it will...

New dental contract trialled

The coalition Government’s plans for modernisation of the NHS centre on improving quality of care and patient outcomes.  As part of this, 62 dental practices selected from around England trialled a new dental contract during summer 2011, aimed at...

Watch out, there's a locum about ... or is there?

GP partnerships should be aware that there has been a spate of cases where locums are claiming to be employees. As a consequence they are claiming holiday pay, sickness pay and compensation for dismissal if contracts are not continued. With such...

Consortia/Federations - are you being legally advised?

The GP horizon features a requirement for GP practices to form in to consortia with other practices for the purposes of commissioning health and care services. While separately the RCGP advocates the need for GPs to form Federations, in order to act as...

GP Premises - a battleground for disputes

Not only are GP practices involved in an increased number of disputes with their PCTs regarding practice premises, relating to the current market rent for the premises, the practice premises are also the reason for internal disputes between GPs. The...

GP Premises - why do GPs need written agreements?

Maintaining practice premises can be expensive and responsibility for such expense is not always clear. When GPs used to occupy premises with all partners having the same ownership interest in the property this was not an issue, since everyone understood who...

Spending review affects publicy funded home care and mobility allowance

The Government’s announced cuts on the back of the comprehensive spending review will see local government funding decrease by 28% over the financial years 2010/11 to 2014/15. As a consequence next year could see cuts for adult social care of 7%....

Immigration cap likely to damage care sector

The Government’s announcements regarding the new policy on capping the number of workers entering the UK from outside Europe has led several business leaders to warn of shortfalls of staff in certain sectors. In particular the social care sector has...

NHS White Paper - Health & Social Care

The White Paper ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’ published on 12 July 2010, details the Government’s strategy to “create a more responsive, patient- centred NHS, which achieves outcomes that are among the best in the...

NHS patients given extended rights under NHS Constitution

From the end of January, all NHS organisations are legally forced to take account of patients’ rights and pledges established by the NHS Constitution. The Constitution was introduced under the Health Act 2009 and details patients’ rights to NHS...

Abolition of GP practice boundaries

Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, has announced that within the next 12 months patients will be given the right to choose their GPs, under reforms to open up real choice in primary care. To achieve this he wishes to abolish practice boundaries to allow...

Polysystems - opportunities or issues?

Announcements that across England there is to be a significant acceleration in shifting work from hospitals to primary care, with plans for GPs to take on new services as part of London-style ‘polysystems’, have received mixed reactions. A...

GP's 24 hour retirement - has your agreement got it covered?

Disputes have arisen between GP partners regarding the 24 hour retirement rights and terms following return to the partnership. The best way to overcome such disputes is to ensure your partnership agreement includes a clause recording the arrangements agreed...

Personal Care at Home Bill could affect Care Homes

This Bill, which has been introduced in the House of Commons and has received its second reading in the Lords, enables the Secretary of State to make regulations requiring personal care to be provided free to persons in their own homes, for an indefinite...

GP Licensing and Re-Validation

Planned changes by the General Medical Council (GMC) commenced on 16 November 2009 with the requirement for doctors to have a licence to practise. Now all doctors in the UK are required by law to hold both registration and a licence to practise. Licensing...

Changes to Registration of Health and Adult Care Providers

Regulations issued under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (“the Act”) mean that the regulation of health and adult social care will change in 2010. All health and adult social care providers, who provide regulated activities, will be required...

Draft Regulations on Agency Workers

Draft regulations to implement the EC Temporary Agency Workers Directive (No.2008/104/EC) have been issued, along with a second consultation on their implementation, which has been delayed to 1 October 2011. The consultation, which closed on 11 December...