NHSEI have recently written to practices to gather information regarding over-paid rates reimbursements. The background to this is NHSEI commissioned a review of practice rates & when this was successful the rates reduction was backdated. These monies were then refunded to practices by the Council & in turn should have been refunded to NHSEI, who have for some time been trying to recoup this money. Many practices have already repaid this money, some have set aside the overpayment awaiting NHSEI to invoice the practice, and some practices have not done this.
The only exception to this may be for PMS practices who at the time covered by the rates review did not receive full rates refund from NHSEI. This may result in no repayment being necessary or only partial repayment being required.
NHSEI have contracted GL Hearn, a firm of accountants, to calculate how much each practice has been over-paid. Practices are being asked to furnish GL Hearn with information regarding their rates, rateable value, and rates reimbursements.
The LMC have contacted BMA GP Committee and Premises Policy Group to clarify whether there is a length of time over which these overpayments can no longer be reclaimed, and whether there is any legal position which would restrict the need to repay.
The advice from BMA has been that there is not a restriction in time, so NHSEI can reclaim these funds as far back as they feel necessary.
BMA have advised that there may be a possibility of legal challenge if there has been a “ change of position”, whereby the practices accepted the overpayment in good faith, on the understanding they were entitled to it, and then made business plans and incurred expenditure on the basis of it.
If your practice has received this communication, you should get appropriate legal and accountancy advice before responding. If you have concerns that you have already repaid the fund, or do not have the funds to repay, then you may wish to discuss this with the LMC.
The LMC can work with practices and NHSEI to agree a process for moving this forward, and to do this we need to know which practices are involved, what your issues are, and that you give permission for us to support your practice. Therefore, please let us know if you need our support in this matter.