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The taking on of new partners is one of the most crucial ways in which you can preserve the future prosperity and viability of your practice.
As crucial as it is, if you are considering taking on a new partner (or indeed have) then there are a few regulatory and legal issues that we would urge you to consider and address. These include:-
1. Signing up.
The first and most important thing to do is to make sure that all Partners, including the new Partner, have signed up to your Partnership Agreement. Unless this occurs, and although not an exhaustive list, you run the risk of:-
2. Updating Agreements.Use this time as an opportunity to review your current Partnership Agreement so as to ensure that it reflects not only the current framework in which you operate but most importantly the structure and practical manner in which your practice/ partnership runs. Does it refer to partners, premises or arrangements that are no longer relevant? Does it fail to address some of the more recent sector specific issues such as 24 hour retirement or networking? Answering yes to these questions will be a good sign that an updated Partnership Agreement may be needed.
3. Agree on a probationary period.
It is not essential but certainly common practice for any new partner to be subject to a probationary period during which the new partners involvement can be terminated on short notice (usually one month).
The probationary periods themselves usually range from between six to twelve months and are introduced in order to enable you to gauge their performance and suitability both a professional and personal level.
4. Agree on their working commitments, profit share and capital contributions.
It sounds simple but it is vital that you clearly agree and document what you expect of your new partner in terms of their working commitment (including any out of hours commitment) and (if applicable) their need to inject capital into your partnership.
Will you expect capital to be injected from day one, whether day one is as soon as they join the partnership or as soon as they successfully complete their probationary period, or will the new partner have the opportunity to build up their capital requirements over time?
On the reverse, what and how will the new partner be paid? Will he receive a share of the profits and if so will this share increase over time until he or she achieves full parity?
5. Premises issues
Albeit a topic in itself, revisit provisions and/or arrangements concerning your practice premises.
If the premises are owned as a partnership asset or indeed by the partners, or a few of them, in their personal capacities consider whether the new partner will be expected to buy in?
If the premises you operate from are leased, consider whether the new partner will be expected to become a named party to the same and if so how this is achieved under the terms of your lease?
6. Notify NHSE & the CQC
The introduction of a new partner must be notified to both NHS England and the Care Quality Commission.
If you are taking on a new partner and would like help covering any of the above mentioned issues please contact BMA Law on 0300 123 2014 or e mail [email protected]. Set up by the BMA to support its members, BMA Law provides a range of quality sector specific fixed fee legal services. These include:-
Robert Day is a senior solicitor at BMA Law
Thanks for the information
Can we save the fees you quote by doing our own?
How would legal fees be divided up in terms of the incoming / outgoing / remaining partners?
Thanks for your comment. I have had a chat with Rob, who has provided the following response:
Albeit this would be up for discussion and agreement, you usually find that the expenses incurred in updating documentation to account of a new partner become an expense of the partnership (being all partners including the new partner) which would be deducted as an expense before profits are calculated. There is, however, no set rule and the partners (both existing and incoming) can decide otherwise.
I hope this is helpful. If you need any further advice, please do get in touch with BMA Law at [email protected] or 0300 123 2014 .
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