Services which are outwith the NHS Contract
The National Health Service provides most healthcare to the majority of people free of charge, but there are exceptions. GPs are self-employed and are contracted to provide NHS general medical services for their patients.
Sometimes, GPs are asked to provide additional services which fall outside their contract and in these circumstances, they are entitled to make a reasonable charge for providing them. The fees charged are based on the British Medical Association (BMA) suggested scales and Practice Reception Staff will be happy to advise you about them along with appointment availability.
Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge their NHS patients are:
- Medicals for pre-employment and driving requirements (HGV, PSV etc.)
- Private medical insurance reports
- Letters requested by, or on behalf of, the patient
- Holiday cancellation claim forms
- Certain travel vaccinations
Insurance company and private medicals (HGV, PSV, Taxi, etc) can be arranged on the premises. It is important when booking for a medical that you inform the receptionists of the type of medical you require as this requires a longer appointment and failure to do so may result in you having to book another appointment. Please telephone reception for further details and to book your medical.
Private Letters / Forms
A fee may be charged for private medical certificates and for the completion of insurance claim forms. If you do require any forms completed/signed it is not necessary for you to make an appointment with the doctor, unless an examination is required – see above re: Private Medicals. Instead leave the form at reception and the staff will give the form to the appropriate doctor. If necessary, the doctor can always contact you to clarify any details
Your questions answered
Isn’t the NHS supposed to be free?
The National Health Service provides most healthcare to the majority people free of charge, but there are exceptions: for example, medical reports for insurance companies.
Surely the Doctor is being paid anyway?
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 NHS covers these costs for NHS work, but for non-NHS work the fee has to cover the Doctor’s costs.
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 – the majority work up to 70 hours a week – and paperwork takes up an increasing amount of their time, so many GPs find they have to take some paperwork home at night and weekends.
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. In order to complete even the simplest of forms, therefore, the Doctor might have to check the patient’s entire medical record. Carelessness or an inaccurate report can have serious consequences for the Doctor with the General Medical Council or even the Police.