Doctors need to take into account every nook and cranny of their practice when filling out the Premises Self-Certification Form (PREM1) they receive from the PCT every three years, or face losing out on their full notional rent reimbursement.
It is estimated that the vast majority of surgeries are under-funded because their rent reimbursement is too low, mainly because they fail to include all their usable space on the form.
One of the, reported, main reasons behind the incorrect filling of the forms is almost certainly because doctors and practice managers are not aware of what they may or may not include as usable space.
People tend to think of useable space as waiting and practice rooms or any area where patients and staff have access. However, usable space can also be areas used for storage, such as the loft, cupboards under stairs, basements and even outbuildings, if anything required to run the practice is stored within them.
Basically, any space that frees up other space within the practice premises for the use of people, such as reception areas, waiting rooms or general circulation areas can be included.
Given the complexity of trying to measure cupboard or loft space, it might be wiser to say that the whole of the property is used for general medical purposes, as that way, nothing can be left out.
It is also wise to seek professional advice when filling out these forms, as accountants have experience of knowing what is and what is not allowable. And if a rent review can be negotiated on the back of the new approach to the PREM1, thousands of pounds could be saved, which could be used to improve facilities at the practice.
As an accountant; David Jacobs offers a range of accounting, audit and taxation advice to the legal and medical professions.