Not all services requested by patients are included by the NHS. Where patients request non-NHS items of service a private fee will be payable.
Surely GPs are already being paid so why are fees charged?
GPs are not employed by the NHS, they are self-employed and as such have to cover the costs of staff, buildings, heating, lighting, etc. in the same way as any other small business.
The government’s contract with GPs covers medical services to NHS patients including the provision of on-going medical treatment.
In recent years more and more organisations have been involving doctors in a wide range of non-NHS work, this work is not funded by the government and therefore, GPs have to charge a fee to cover their time and related expenses.
So, do GPs have to do non-NHS work for their patients?
With certain limited exceptions, your doctor does not have to carry out non-NHS work.
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.
Why does it sometimes take my GP a long time to complete my letter/form?
Time spent completing forms and preparing reports takes GPs away from the medical care of their patients.
GPs have an ever increasing workload, offering appointments and other urgent administration such as referrals and medication queries, which must be prioritised over this extra private work.
I only need a signature, why is there an issue?
When a GP signs a certificate, completes a report or writes a letter, it is a condition of their remaining on the medical register (which allows them to practice as a doctor), that they only sign what they know to be true.
In order to complete even the simplest of forms, the doctor may have to check a patient’s entire medical record.
What will I be charged?
The British Medical Association (BMA – the professional association for doctors) suggests fees that may be charged in certain circumstances. However, these are intended for guidance only.
Doctors are not obliged to charge these suggested rates and the fee levels will generally reflect the amount of work and time involved.
How long does the surgery need for the completion of reports, forms and letters?
We ask for 4 weeks notice although we do try to complete these forms, reports and letters sooner where it is possible to do so.
If a request is urgent, this should always be explained to the receptionist. However, it is not always possible to process this work faster as more clinically urgent work will always take priority.