On 9 May the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) published The National Health Service (General Medical Services Premises Costs) Directions 2024 (“the new Premises Cost Directions”).

The long-awaited, new Premises Costs Directions come into effect from 10 May 2024, and replace The  National Health Service (General Medical – Services Premises Costs) Directions 2013 (“2013 Directions”). Going forwards all payments made to GMS GP contractors in respect of their premises costs will be governed and made under the new Premises Costs Directions.

The new Directions can be accessed here.

Key changes

The new Directions are based on, and in the same format as, the 2013 Directions.

Key changes include:

Improvement grants

1.A long-standing restriction on commissioner contribution to premises improvements has been removed. Commissioners can now award GP grant funding up to 100% of project value.

      2. Grant values have been increased, and abatement and guaranteed periods of use have been reduced.

      3. Improvement grants can now also be awarded to purchase land specifically required to build a premises extension, and for tenant fit-out works of new builds.

      Improvement grants and premises liabilities 

      4. To provide reassurance to contractors applying for improvement grants, a number of changes have been agreed to support those contractors in receipt of a grant who may wish to retire but cannot find a successor partner from within the practice.

      Other changes

      5. Rent reviews will not require contractors to undertake their own valuation, just evidence of a negotiation with the landlord.

      6. Leaseholders must attempt to ensure landlords do not add VAT to rent; but where it is added, the commissioner will reimburse it.

      7. Reimbursement of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on acquiring land or premises.

      8. More formalised arrangements for third-party use of premises, with protections for the contractor and reimbursement of legal expenses.

      9. Improved provisions for minimum standards reviews.

      10. Reimbursement of Business Improvement District (BID) levies.

      11. Rights for NHS England to reclaim overpayments.

      How Capsticks can help

      Commissioners and GP Practices need to understand how the new Directions will impact on any payments they make or receive in relation to practice premises costs, and what additional steps they may now need to take as a result of the changes.

      Capsticks are experts in primary care premises policy and requirements and have advised NHS England on the changes to, and implementation of, the new Directions. We would be very happy to support commissioners and GP Practices to help them understand the changes and what this means for them.

      Please speak to Henry Matveieff, Daniel Kirk or James Burt to find out more about how Capsticks can help.