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"SIFT" funding for teaching University of Birmingham Medical Students

This message is for practices teaching, or contemplating teaching, Birmingham University Medicalstudents. Apologies if it is of no relevance to you, but the LMC does not have a list of the practices concerned.

As you are aware, practices which provide this teaching are funded throughService Increment for Teaching Funding "SIFT", with historical service level agreements in place.Following the NHS changes and the creation of Health Education England and local Education and Training Boards in place of pre-existing educational structures, the University is intending to update the SLA document and the LMC has been consulted on the process.

Because of this, and because of advice that has been sought from the LMC by teaching practices, an important issue has come to light.

The SIFT funding is intended to cover three areas - a payment for the actual teaching, a payment to cover practices infrastructure expenditure in providing the teaching ie a "service charge" type element, and a property payment to cover the exclusive use of rooms within the premises for medical student teaching - this would be accommodation from which primary medicals services are not provided and therefore no NHS rental funding is available.

The existence of the property payment i.e. rental element is clearly set out in the existing SLA, but the actual amount of the payment is not, and the terms surrounding its determination are rather vague.

I am not aware that any teaching practice has any sort of formal lease agreement with the University, over and above the SLA, in place which clearly sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties, the levels of rent or the conditions attached to it.The problem with this is that it can then lead to a potential undervaluing of the property if it, or a share of it is sold, as a valuation may be unlikely to consider, or to discount, any parts of the property where a lease does not protect the landlord’s rental income.This then could also run the risk of disputes between partners over surgery valuation.

I have discussed the matter with the University, and have been told they will explore this matter with their own legal advisers in advance of their revised SLA being discussed with teaching practices; however in the meantime I would strongly advise all practices that feel they may be affected by this issue to seek their own legal advice.

Dr. Robert Morley
Executive Secretary
Birmingham Local Medical Committee


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