Why do GP’s charge fees?
The National Health Service provides most health care to most people free of charge, but there are exceptions. Sometimes the charge is made to cover some of the cost of treatment, for example dental fees. In other cases it is because the service isn’t covered by the NHS, 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.
Surely the doctor is being paid anyway?
It is important to understand that GP’s 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 NHS pays the doctor for specific NHS work, but for non NHS the fee has to cover the doctor’s costs.
What is covered by the NHS and what is not?
The Government's contract with GPs covers medical services to NHS patients, including the provision of ongoing medical treatment. In recent years, however, 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 is true and accurate.
Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge their own NHS patients are:
- accident/sickness certificates for insurance purposes.
- reports for health clubs to certify that patients are fit to exercise.
- pre-employment medicals, as requested by employers.
- Holiday cancellation froms.
- Letters requested by or on behalf of the patient
Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge other institutions are:
- life assurance and income protection reports for insurance companies.
- reports for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in connection with disability living allowance and attendance allowance.
- medical reports for local authorities in connection with adoption and fostering.
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/her patients. Most GP’s have a very heavy workload- the majority of GP’s work up to 60 hours a week 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 needs 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.
When do I pay?
In most cases you will be asked to pay at the time of collection but we may ask for payment in advance. In the event you fail collect the item requested you will still be liable for the fee due to the GP and administration time involved. The practice can accept cash/ cheque or if requested we can provide bank transfer details
The fees charged are based on the British Medical Association (BMA) suggested scales and our reception staff will be happy to advise you about them along with appointment availability.
Please see the practice current fees list below (fees for patients). Fees for insurance companies may vary.
Short letter – Camp America, fit to fly, character reference, holiday cancellation
Private Script within EU
Private Script out with EU (+ Consultation fee)
10 minute consultation
Holiday cancellation – detailed letter
- complicated (examination required)
Power Of Attorney Forms
DATA PROTECTION / RECORDS ACCESS
Viewing medical record
Computerised only (patient requesting medical records)
Medical records – record extract with GP check
up to £50.00
Patient fails to attend examination (consultation charge)
Patient letter to insurance company e.g. in support of claim
The above list is not exhaustive and subject to change without notice.