Why do GP’s charge fees?
Your questions answered
The National Health Service provides most health care to most people free of charge, but there are exceptions. Prescription charges have existed since 1951, and there are a number of other services for which fees are charged. 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.
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 GP’s covers medical services to NHS patients. In recent years, more and more organisations have been involving doctors in a whole range of non medical work. Sometimes the only reason that GP’s are asked is because they are in a position of trust in the community, or because an insurance company or employer wants to be sure that information provided is true and accurate
Examples of non-NHS services for which GP’s can charge their patients:
•Certain travel vaccinations
•Private medical insurance reports
•Holiday cancellation forms
•Referral for private care forms
•Letters requested by or on behalf of, the patient
•In certain instances fitness to work forms
Examples of non-NHS services for which GP’s can charge other institutions are:
•Medical reports for an insurance company
•Some reports for the DSS/Benefits agency
•Examinations of local authority employees
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.
Requesting Non-NHS work
If you request work that is not provided for under of the NHS Primary Care Services contract, your GP may be happy to undertake such work for you, but, as this is a private service, you will incur a charge for completion of your request.
Our priority is NHS work.
Non-NHS work is charged in line with British Medical Association Guidelines. We review our fees annually in line with recommendations made by the BMA.
Please inform us of your request or bring a letter detailing your requirement, including any forms, into the practice.
Our staff will contact you BEFORE the work is done to confirm that your GP is able to do the work requested, and inform you of the charge payable.
Payment for most services will be required in advance.
If you wish to proceed, we will usually commit to complete the work that you have requested within 15 working days from date of payment.
Should this not be possible, for example due to GP holidays or requests for a larger than normal piece of work, our staff will inform you when they contact you as above.
As soon as your GP has completed your request, you will be contacted and we will arrange for it to be available for collection.
We now accept card payments as well as payment by cash and cheque.
BRANCH END SURGERY Non NHS Services Price List:
Please click here for a full list of our non- NHS services together with current prices which are based on national guidelines.