Saving the NHS £100,000 and securing service provision of a walk-in centre by negotiating a lease

Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre, Stoke on Trent

Background

Site: Walk-in health centre in Hanley (Stoke on Trent), which NHSPS holds the head lease for.

Customer/stakeholder(s): North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and North Staffordshire GP Federation

NHSPS representatives: Simon Quirke, Lease Events Manager; Andrew Strange, Regional Partnership Director – Midlands; Martin Cowell, Principal Property Manager; Vicki Mitchell, Senior Property Manager

Customer feedback

“Thank you for your support throughout this complex lease negotiation. We were constantly appraised of an ever-evolving situation and we able to place our upmost trust in NHSPS to deliver the required result for the CCG. The flexibility and lower rent of this new lease will really help, as we plan our future healthcare strategy and secure GP services for this area.”

Sharon Maguire, Senior Primary Care Development Manager North, Stoke on Trent CCG

Challenge

The original ten-year lease for Hanley Health & Wellbeing Centre expired in August 2019. The CCG was still considering their longer-term strategy for the area, and so required a short-term extension to the lease for a period of two years.

The landlord requested a significant uplift on the current rent and a financial break penalty in exchange for this flexibility. NHSPS lease events team did not consider this proposal represented value for money.

NHSPS Strategy team worked closely with the CCG and GP throughout the entire process, identifying potential contingency sites and reviewing the feasibility of all options.

Solution

The NHS Property Services Lease Events team led the negotiation throughout, seeking both legal and independent advice where appropriate. It was identified from review of the property deeds that the property was demised to the NHS as a shell (i.e. the NHS moved into an empty building and fitted it out as a healthcare facility).

This informed position, supported a robust argument for a decrease in rent and preferential lease terms. This process was all manged within the strict timescales of the statute which governs lease renewals of commercial premises.

The identification of alternative options also ensured that there was no immediate risk to healthcare delivery in this locality.

Impact

Through a lengthy period of negotiation, which involved some complex legal arguments, NHSPS were able to secure a new lease on the terms required. This resulted in continuity of healthcare provision in this location, offering 12-hours of daily appointments to patients who are often not registered with a GP.

The project also delivered an overall savings in excess of £100k in rental costs, for the period to the first break. In addition, the lease terms secured offer the required flexibility for the CCG to formulate their wider, long-term healthcare strategy.

The occupiers making up North Staffordshire GP Federation have agreed in principal to sign the new leases, which will support the regularisation and clarification of occupancy agreements for this site.