For non-NHS work such as medical examinations, reports and certificates etc., there will be a fee incurred. You will need to pay for the service at Reception before the appointment or before collecting documents etc. Payment can be made by cheque, cash or credit card.
Why do GPs charge fees?
It is important to understand that GPs are not employed by the NHS, they are self-employed and they have to cover their costs – staff, buildings, heating, lighting etc – in the same way as any small business.
The government contract with GPs covers medical services to NHS patients, however in recent years, more and more organisations have been involving doctors in a whole range of non-medical work.
Sometimes the only reason that GPs are asked is because they are in a position of trust in the community, or because an insurance company or employer wants to ensure that information provided to them is true and accurate.
This work takes time and resources, for example; medical reports for insurance companies, claims on private health insurance and other letters and forms which require the doctor to review the patient’s medical records, ensure information is accurate and correct and appropriately summarised for the purpose. This can be quite time consuming.
Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge their patients
- Private medical insurance reports.
- Holiday cancellation forms.
- Letters request by, or on behalf of, the patient.
Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge other institutions are
- Medical reports for an insurance company
- Some reports for the DSS/Benefits Agency
Why does it sometimes take my GP a long time to complete my form?
Time spent completing forms and preparing reports takes the GP away from the medical care of his or her patients.
Most GPs have a very heavy workload and paperwork takes up an increasing amount of their time. In addition non-NHS work must be undertaken outside of NHS contracted time.
I only need the doctor’s signature – what is the problem?
When a doctor signs a certificate or completes a report it is a condition of remaining on the Medical Register that they only sign what they know to be true. Therefore in order to complete even the simplest of forms, the doctor may need to check the patient’s entire record. Carelessness or an inaccurate report can have serious consequences for the doctor, with the General Medical Council or even the Police.
What can I do to help?
- Not all documents need a signature by a doctor, for example passport applications. You can ask another person in a position of trust to sign such documents free of charge.
- If you have several forms requiring completion, present them all at once and ask your GP if he or she is prepared to complete them at the same time to speed up the process.
- Do not expect your GP to process forms overnight. Urgent requests may mean that a doctor has to make special arrangements to process the form quickly, and this will cost more.
Do GPs have to do non-NHS work for their patients?
With certain limited exceptions GPs do not have to carry out non-NHS work on behalf of their patients.
Whilst GPs will always attempt to assist their patients with the completion of forms, for example for insurance purposes, they are not required to do such non-NHS work.
For an up to date list of fees please contact us
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