John my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Did you seek advice before you signed the contract?
Was this signed as a business please?
No. we are a chiropractic clinic and we introduced ourselves to the NHS and offered ourselves / services as we were aware that they did not have our service and thus could provide patient choice.
The initial contract was undertaken as a pilot study which allows them to offer a 12 month contract without a very detailed layer of verification of ourselves. This pilot study was just extended year on year. I understand that they should not really have done that but it seemed to satisfy both parties.
The contract allowed 15 GP practices to refer direct to us. Then an MSK Pathway was devised which allowed Gp's to use an algorithm that meant continuing to refer direct to us, or to consult via phone a GP with special interest in musculoskeletal care, or thirdly to have to refer direct to the GP with special interest who could then refer to us. This was adopted without a contract amendment in October 2010. Then the MSK Pathway was changed to a Triage and this is when the contract was subsequently amended and GP's were told to refer direct to the Triage team and not direct to us. However, many GP's still referred to us. Sadly the Triage team refer on very few patients to us.
I assume as a practice you did not take advice on the contract?
No. The terms of the contract were all acceptable to us. The issue is whether as a convention of a better word, the change should have been flagged up clearly.
Sadly as you are not a consumer then you have less rights. This means that before you sign a contract you should read it and make sure you are happy with the terms and conditions.
It they had represented the terms were the same, when they were not then that is a different mater
But on the basis you had the contract, you could have read and taken advice on it
You are deemed to be bound and have read the conditions
Sadly therefore the responsibility is on you to read them, unless they said the contract remains the same
I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest
Can I clarify anything about this today please?
In what way would they have represented the terms being the same. Is it not possible to argue that as it was the continuation of a previous contract that it is implicit that it is the same unless they notify you otherwise?
No. You had a 12 month contract
Therefore if there is a new contract to be signed, you need to check the terms.
You are in business and if you took it to Court a Judge would say, did you read it?
If the answer is no, then sadly the Court would not find
I assume they just wrote, enclosed a copy and asked you to sign
I assume they didnt say - these terms are the same as the contract previously signed
Does the fact that we continued to work under a contract that, by the dates therein, legally finished at the end of October and were continued to be remunerated monthly, nine month period after its legal completion not blur the edges a bit and make one believe that contract was to be as the previous two?
but its not contract. Its a new one. You agree that it was not read and assumed the terms were the same. Thats the problem.
People could get out of contracts by saying they didnt read the terms which would defeat the whole point of a contract
As a business you are sadly expected to read contracts before signing them
I am sorry
No I understand the pertinence of the last point. Maybe it is semantics but the only way that the contract could be renewed was if it was a continuation of the pilot study. Does that give any validity to my erroneous assumption?
Sadly not. Maybe up until the point you re-signed. But once you signed the new contract the new terms took effect.
I am sorry I can't give you the answer you want, but I do have to be truthful
Alex I do understand the importance of you laying it out as it is. So anyone who does flag up any amendments is just doing it as a generosity
Yes. There is no duty to flag up amendments.
As someone who is in business the level of understanding and reading a contract is far higher
Oh ok. And any ambiguity created by the events that happened leading up to this situation have no relevance because the terms within the contract are the sacrosanct point. Sorry If you feel I have been trying to eek out a different opinion from you but it has cost us a substantial amount of money and as it stands lead to the closure of what was a very successful 12 year old business. Thanks speed of response though Alex.
Happy to help. Can I clarify anything else today? I am sorry business
No I don't think so. Thank you thoughts.
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