The NHS does not pay for some of the services we provide. These include private sick notes, insurance forms, holiday cancellation forms, medical reports, fitness to travel certificates, private prescriptions, housing letters and some vaccination services. Our fees for these services are displayed in the surgery.
The advice below is taken from the British Medical Association to help you understand why we need to charge fees.
Why fees are charged?
The Governments contract with GP’s covers medical services to NHS patients. However, in recent years more and more organisations have been involving doctors in a wide 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, employer or public body wants to ensure that the information provided to them is true and accurate.
Do GPs have to do non-NHS work for their patients?
With certain limited exceptions, for example a GP confirming that one of their patients is not fit for jury service, 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.
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, 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 (the doctors’ regulatory body) 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.