Providers of health and social care services face many challenges, often striving to provide essential services in a financially challenging environment whilst subject to intense scrutiny from regulators, the media and the public. Our dedicated team understands the legal, financial and regulatory environment of healthcare and provides you with legal advice that saves you time and money.

Our team of cross-disciplinary lawyers includes market leading specialists in the health and care sector. We take time to understand our clients’ needs and we are proud to have built long term ‘trusted adviser’ relationships with healthcare operators ranging from some of the biggest national names in the sector to smaller owner managed businesses.

Our specialist team includes experts in:
 

How we support clients in the Healthcare sector
Corporate and Commercial

Our commercial health team offers a market leading corporate and commercial practice that is ideally placed to support the challenges facing operators, suppliers, investors and funders in the health and social care sector.

Our range of commercial health services includes:

  • Corporate transaction advice: advising elderly care, domiciliary care, specialist care, supported living, retail pharmacy, dentistry, healthtech and other operators in the sector on acquisitions and disposals including management buyouts, family succession, private equity investments, trade sales, structuring and reorganisations
  • Corporate governance: drafting constitutions, advising on the duties of directors, managing conflicts of interest, shareholder rights and disputes and reorganisations following the exit of stakeholders
  • Commercial contracts: services agreements, supplier agreements, non-disclosure agreements, R&D agreements, IT licences, and advice on NHS standard form contracts and local authority commissioning contracts and procedures
  • Joint ventures and partnerships: GP practice mergers and GP federations, integrated care arrangements, service line collaborations such as pathology partnerships and collaborative procurement arrangements
  • Banking and financing: our dedicated banking team acts for borrowers, lenders and investors advising on debt and equity financing and refinancing including acquisition finance, real estate and development finance, syndicated funding and intercreditor issues

CASE STUDIES

  • We advised Norse Care, Norfolk’s largest care home provider, on the purchase of the All Hallows nursing home business in Norfolk. The transaction attracted a large amount of local attention as the seller had run into financial difficulties. A quick transaction was required so as to prevent any adverse consequences on the residents and staff of the home. As such the team had to be dynamic and respond quickly to a rapidly moving scenario.
  • We recently advised a GP Federation on its constitutional and governance arrangements including arrangements to hold and administer Primary Care Network (PCN) funding on behalf of the Network’s GP practice members.
  • We advised Blue Skies Investments on its debt and equity investment, alongside BGF, in Nottingham life sciences incubator BioCity. The investment supported new and existing businesses at BioCity, a company which assists entrepreneurs develop their life sciences ideas into scalable businesses.

Commercial Property

Our commercial property team has a strong reputation as one of the best teams of property legal specialists across the central and eastern regions. Our healthcare sector experts offer contentious and non-contentious real estate expertise for clients in the health and social care sector, including GP Partnerships, lenders and developers.

With a wealth of experience working on healthcare sector projects, we provide a one-stop shop for the full range of commercial property services with specialist lawyers dealing with premises, banking and development work.

We regularly advise on the following types of commercial property healthcare sector transactions:

  • Investment sale and leaseback arrangements
  • Partnership transfers and leases
  • NHS compliant leases, including Community Health Partnership lettings
  • Pharmacy leases
  • Disposal of surplus surgery sites
  • Medical centre developments including development agreements and construction advice on works contracts, appointments and warranties
  • Health Sector Finance for borrowers and lenders, including practice loans and legal charges for security.

CASE STUDIES

  • We acted in the development of a new medical centre and dealt with all aspects of the surgery relocation including the sale of the redundant premises, investment sale and leaseback of the new medical centre, and assignment of the relevant pharmacy licence and sublease. The project involved negotiations with multiple parties due to the connection with the adjoining residential development. We were required to carefully balance the requirements of the developer, funder and medical practice to ensure that all planning and operational deadlines were met. The leaseback negotiations required detailed consideration to ensure compliance with NHS Estates funding requirements, but also meeting the on-site needs of the medical practice. We also put in place estate management arrangements to deal with maintenance obligations for shared access, services, parking and landscaping areas.
  • We acted for a number of GP Partnerships in the leasehold acquisition of surgery space at NHS Community Health Partnerships premises. This involved complex lease documents and advice on NHS incorporated practice guidelines for use of the premises (LIFT lease). The timescales for completion were crucial to the tenant’s needs to ensure that certain NHS funding and financial requirements were met, which we successfully achieved.

Employment

Our highly respected employment law team is known for its responsive and commercial approach to HR issues and employment law. We provide helpful, timely and proactive advice to a range of clients working across the healthcare sector. Our team take the time to understand our clients’ businesses and they pride themselves on their “can do” and creative approach to resolving HR issues. We take a robust, innovative and highly strategic approach to defending employment tribunal claims and have a superb track record of getting great results. We provide a proactive service and provide clients with frequent email updates (and free seminars) covering the latest HR issues, forthcoming legislative changes and important case law developments.

We provide advice on a full range of employment matters including:

  • Employment tribunal claims
  • Discipline and grievances
  • Restructuring and redundancies
  • TUPE (outsourcing and acquisitions)
  • Discrimination and whistleblowing
  • Absence and performance management
  • Contracts, policies and handbooks
  • Business protection (and restrictive covenants)
  • Terminations and settlement agreements
  • GDPR and data protection

We also provide effective and practical training sessions for HR teams and managers. Examples include:

  • Getting to grips with employment law
  • Dealing with discipline and grievances
  • Equality and diversity training
  • Managing difficult conversations

A full list can be found here.

CASE STUDIES

  • We have successfully defended an ET claim (which was reported by the BBC) on behalf of a client where a member of staff was dismissed after it was alleged they had been witnessed hitting a resident on the hand.
  • We have advised clients on the impact of the Court of Appeal decision in Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake in relation to the National Minimum Wage and whether it applies to workers where they are required to ‘sleep-in’ in order to carry out duties if required.
  • We advised our client on conducting a large scale, multi-site investigation into anonymous race-related allegations of discrimination which arose following a staff survey which highlighted that black African care staff believed they were being treated differently by nursing staff and line managers.
  • We have advised numerous clients in relation to disciplinary investigations and dismissals involving allegations where residents have suffered injuries either as a result of alleged abuse, malpractice, or a failure to follow procedures (such as manual handing or care plans). 

Reputation Management, Intellectual Property and Privacy Law

We recognise that, particularly within the healthcare sector, your reputation is one of your most valuable assets. A respected brand often takes years to build but can swiftly be destroyed, should a negative story break, or diluted should a competitor encroach on your intellectual property. Our specialists are well placed to minimise the risk and take immediate action if your reputation becomes threatened.

We are able to give you practical, commercial and cost-sensitive advice tailored to the healthcare sector. Where matters cannot be resolved swiftly through negotiation, we have extensive experience in taking robust legal action to achieve favourable outcomes for our clients.

We can assist you with:

  • Challenging and preventing the publication of damaging stories
  • Defamation claims including libel, slander and malicious falsebood
  • Media relations and relevant codes of conduct
  • Obtaining, defending and discharging emergency injunctions
  • Harrassment issues
  • Confidential information and privacy law
  • Intellectual property including copywright, trade marks and passing off

We work closely with PR and SEO experts to mitigate any ongoing reputational damage.

CASE STUDIES

  • We represented a leading provider of PPE in reputation management concerning a Channel 4 news broadcast.
  • The team advised on the obligations of a data controller occupational health provider in the processing of personal data in the event of a liquidation.
  • The team won a case against the NHS on behalf of an accredited mental health training provider for trade mark infringement.
  • We advised a charitable hospice on GDPR compliance and provided advice and a suite of documents in support.
  • We represented a nursing services provider in a passing off claim against a group of GPs.

Regulatory

Howes Percival’s Regulatory team has vast experience in acting for healthcare clients on all kinds of legal and compliance issues.

The team assists and supports care service organisations including care homes, domiciliary care providers, care associations, supported living providers and young person’s homes. It is highly regarded for giving easy to understand and pragmatic advice, and for its tenacity in representing clients under investigation and subject to enforcement action by the authorities. It also advises and represents individuals in such matters as well as in proceedings before individuals’ professional disciplinary bodies.

Healthcare sector clients can have many and often complex regulatory advice and compliance requirements and these are just some of the services the Regulatory team provides to meet their needs:

  • Advice and assistance with applications for registration
  • Challenges to registration cancellations and suspensions
  • Dealing with regulatory authorities (e.g. CQC, Ofsted, Local Authorities)
  • Representation in proceedings by disciplinary bodies
  • Contesting CQC Reports
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Capacity and DOLS issues
  • Contract and fee disputes
  • Complaints – handling incoming complaints and making complaints against the authorities
  • Health and Safety
  • Fire Safety
  • Internal incident investigation management
  • Safeguarding - advice assistance and representation in safeguarding matters (SCRs, SARs and LADO)
  • Contesting fixed penalty and warning notices
  • Advice and representation for investigations, enforcement action and prosecutions by the authorities (e.g. HSE, Police)
  • Defending prosecutions
  • Preparation for and representation at Inquests
  • Judicial reviews

CASE STUDIES

  • Acting for a Registered Manager under investigation by the CQC for alleged failings linked to a respite pre-admission process. Successfully persuading the CQC not to prosecute through robust written representations.
  • Advising a national property management company in a dispute with the owner of extra care premises over the adequacy of fire safety measures and suitability of an alarm system. The owner eventually conceding our approach was correct and paying to remediate the issues.
  • Representing a care provider at a complex inquest following the death of an elderly resident from an unexplained head injury. We were able to demonstrate that the injury had not resulted from a fall but from complications linked to anti-coagulant medication.
  • Acting for a leading UK provider of supported retirement housing in an appeal against a fire safety enforcement notice directed towards risks arising from charging the batteries of residents’ mobility scooters. The enforcement notice detrimentally affected the mobility and amenity of many residents in several retirement villages. The team worked extensively with the client in achieving a solution acceptable to all parties and without detriment to the residents.
  • Advising and assisting a specialist provider of residential care to young persons with complex behavioural needs in resisting challenges to its costing and fees regime from several placement authorities. Through a combination of legal technical argument and tactical planning the team ensured that the client retained the placements and without any corresponding reduction in the fees payable by the authorities. 

Our clients
Some of our clients in the Healthcare industry

  • Anchor Hanover
  • East Midlands Care
  • Norse Care
  • PJ Care
  • St Matthews Healthcare

What people say about us

"At Howes Percival LLP ‘capable individuals make up the team, which provides good response times’."

"Howes Percival LLP has ‘a strong team that responds rapidly to both the clients’ and fellow professionals’ needs in complex and pressured situations’."

“Excellent communication and knowledge and high-level diligence.”

"Their ability to deliver timely advice and pragmatic solutions, combined with an eagerness to support our business is very much appreciated."

"The team at Howes Percival is knowledgeable and responsive."

- Legal 500

Howes Percival LLP has ‘a strong team that responds rapidly to both the clients’ and fellow professionals’ needs in complex and pressured situations’.

- Legal 500
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