Capsticks’ primary care team is comprised of highly experienced primary care legal specialists who genuinely understand the legal and commercial challenges that GP practices and primary care networks (PCNs) face. We know you’ve got to keep on top of medical advances, regulatory changes and patient demand—and still find time to manage property, partnerships, super-partnerships and all types of collaboration: from collaboration under your PCN through to full blown practice mergers.
We understand commissioning arrangements, funding, policy and primary care contracting better than any other law firm. This allows our specialist team to quickly provide practical, cost effective solutions that let you focus on your patients, staff and business.

How can Capsticks help?

  • Primary care networks (PCNs)

    In order to realise the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan and maximise the opportunities that are available, PCNs will need to continue to develop. From our work with over 100 PCNs we are acutely aware of the emerging issues that PCNs face as they progress from “start-ups” to more mature networks. These include:

    • Considering the best vehicle to use as nominated payee for the network and/or the employer of additional staff
    • Making arrangements for administrative and support services without incurring charges to VAT
    • Developing a workforce model for the additional staff that will be funded under the Network DES whilst recognising that funding is time-limited

    Considering whether there is scope to consolidate the PCN estate in order to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness and advising on PCD estate strategies.

  • Commercial and contracts

    We can assess the “business-readiness” of your PCN, and develop an action plan which ensures it is built on strong foundations, with appropriate arrangements in place at both practice and network level.

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  • Corporate

    Incorporation of GP practices (in particular private practices) has become increasingly popular over the past few years. This is another complex area and you need specialist lawyers who genuinely understand these complexities and associated risks. If you do decide to go ahead and incorporate we will work with you and your accountants to assist in transferring your practice to a limited company, as well as advising on all of the legal aspects associated with the incorporation.

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  • Employment

    We can deal with all your employment law queries, including reviewing employment contracts, policies and procedures, the application of TUPE on practice sales and acquisitions. We can also provide advice on disciplinary and redundancy procedures.

    Our HR specialists support practices reduce sickness absence, conduct investigations and can support you through change management programmes.

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  • Governance

    We have wide experience in the preparation of expense sharing agreements and new partnership deeds. These need to be robust and up to date to support the good governance and subsequent stability of your business.

    Having a partnership deed in place protects the stability of each practice in a PCN and can save time and money in the long run. Our advice is that every GP practice needs to have a current and effective partnership deed in place at all times: it can be risky and far more expensive not to. 

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  • Information law

    Data sharing and processing agreements are an essential component in allowing all parts of a PCN to access necessary data for the purposes of population health management and the management and supervision of network staff. We review existing information governance arrangements and prepare bespoke agreements to enable clients to utilise the necessary data in a legally-compliant and practical way.

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  • Litigation

    In the event of a dispute, our dispute resolution team will advise and support you throughout the whole process, including providing a comprehensive mediation service to help you resolve your dispute without resorting to expensive litigation, if at all possible. If litigation is unavoidable, our team is experienced in handling court hearings at all levels, and will always consider the implications of your contractual relationship with NHS England.

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  • Real estate

    As premises are typically the largest asset of any GP practice, it is essential to receive specialist advice from lawyers who understand the Premises Costs Directions. We advise on all types of property work, including sales and leasebacks, grants of leases to third party occupiers within the practice, freehold purchases and all types of landlord and tenant law.

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  • Regulatory

    We know how important a strong CQC rating is and have unrivalled experience in supporting providers of health and social care with these issues and a proven track record in delivering successful outcomes in relation to CQC inspection. We can provide advice in relation to CQC inspections, including providing vital training sessions prior to inspection and, if necessary, assistance in challenging erroneous findings afterwards.

  • Primary care network estate audit

    We are often asked to carry out reviews of the property arrangements held across PCN estate, in order to help you identify opportunities to increase efficiencies and mitigate against possible risks. We will provide you with a straightforward report summarising those arrangements at a fixed price which will help you to consider your longer term strategy.

    This process can identify property arrangements that need to be regularised, such as putting formal leases in place at practice premises owned or part owned by former partners, or resolving service charge disputes with landlords such as NHS Property Services. Capsticks also has extensive experience of advising practices of all sizes on significant new health centre developments with all of the major national primary care developers. This means that you will be in the safest possible hands by instructing us, wherever a new development is the ultimate goal.

    This will also help to inform PCN estate strategies which are increasingly vital for future development of the networks as highlighted by the recent publication “Critical Thinking in Developing an Estates Strategy” which provides an excellent overview of the key issues including many on which we can offer legal support, available here.

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Proud to be a Primary Care Direct member
Capsticks is proud to be a consortium member of Primary Care Direct, which provides essential support to GP practices via a consortium of professional services member organisations.

Providing a “one-stop-shop” to GP practices, federations and pharmacies, Primary Care Direct offers support in a wide range of areas such as business management, finance, employment law, tender management, workforce development, change management, HR and organisational development.

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