1st July 2020

Update from our healthcare specialist team

Pharmacy – At the beginning of lockdown our pharmacy clients experienced one of their busiest periods ever with some owners recruiting family members to step in and help with the huge workload. Despite the significant health risks, our clients’ teams worked tirelessly and delivered for their local communities. Whilst facing the challenges lockdown produced, such as the temporary closure of Registers of Scotland, banks adjusting their requirements and formalities and the whole Blackadders Healthcare Team working from home, our team still managed to get a number of pharmacy sales and purchases over the line. Our priority has always been to give our clients all the legal support and guidance they need. We will continue to deliver our services efficiently and innovatively in this ‘new normal’ in order to continue to meet our own high standards and maintain our reputation in the pharmacy market as pharmacy legal specialists.

Dental – The majority of our dental clients have not been able to work during lockdown, but have been manning their phones and triaging patients where necessary. However, despite initial concerns for a number of practices, we understand from sector experts that liquidity has helped support most practices and 71% of practices in Scotland have not applied for loans. Our dental clients are delighted that the Scottish Government have confirmed that they can open once again to patients and carry out non-aerosol procedures. A number of practices are leading the way in terms of innovation with the use of video updates to demonstrate their commitment to patient safety. Other practices are adapting to the ‘new normal’ by changing to a 7-day week, 8am to 8pm business model. We are aware that there continues to be a healthy appetite for associate led buy outs, with which our team have considerable experience (acting for both the acquiring associates and sellers). We are ready to advise and assist any dentists who find themselves in either position.

GPs – Our GP clients have continued to work tirelessly. All of them have adapted and are taking advantage of technology and innovative solutions to carry out appointments and assessments in order to continue to deliver a vital service in their local communities. During this time we have been updating some partnership agreements (due to retirement of partners and appointment of new partners) and also supporting a number of clients who successfully applied to utilise the first round of sustainability loans made available by the Scottish Government via local health boards. An initial waive of draft documentation was issued to nominated solicitors by the NHS Central Legal Office in early June and our specialist property and finance lawyers have been busy reviewing and reporting to clients on the terms and implications of the loans and security arrangements proposed.

Care Homes – It has been an extremely challenging time for Scottish care homes. As we move forward there will be considerable reflection on the sector’s ability to respond to the pandemic. Operators will require to continue to ensure robust infection control policies and measures are in place and will place focus on addressing any additional staff needs such as increased access to bereavement support or counselling. The Scottish Government has recently announced that care home operators can begin to look towards a phased return of family visiting once it is safe to do so. Much like the dental sector, expansion and sales plans have been mostly on hold as operators devoted their attention to the pandemic response, but we anticipate that experienced and skilled care home operators will want to continue with their plans to grow and develop their offering in their local communities in line with the forecasted increase in demand for their care and services.

The Blackadders Healthcare Team would like to say a huge and heartfelt thanks to all of those active in the Scottish healthcare sector for their unflagging effort over recent months. Our team, encompassing specialist lawyers across corporate, finance, property, employment, dispute resolution and private client, will continue to provide high quality, commercial advice designed to support all the sector every way we can. If you, or anyone you know, would like legal assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch with us – we’d be happy to discuss.

Lucy Gannon,

Corporate & Commercial
Blackadders LLP






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