Some services provided are not covered under our contract with the NHS and therefore attract charges. Examples include the following:
- Medicals for pre-employment, sports and driving requirements (HGV, PSV etc.)
- Insurance claim forms
- Prescriptions for taking medication abroad
- Private sick notes
- Vaccination certificates
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.
Many GPs are not employed by the NHS; they are self employed and have to cover their costs in the same way as any other small business. These costs are covered by the NHS for NHS work, but for non-NHS work the fees charged contribute to costs incurred.
More and more organisations have started to involve doctors in a range of non-medical work. This sometimes happens because GPs are in a position of trust in the community or because an insurer or employer needs to ensure any information given to them is accurate.
Apart from some exceptions, GPs do not have to carry out non-NHS work on behalf of their patients.
The BMA suggests fees that GPs may charge for non-NHS work in order to help GPs set their own professional fees. The fees suggested by the BMA are for guidance only and a doctor is not obliged to charge the rates suggested by the BMA.
Time spent completing forms and preparing reports takes the GP away from the medical care of his or her patients. Most GPs have a heavy workload and paperwork takes up an increasing amount of their time.
When a doctor completes a report or signs a certificate, it is a condition of remaining on the medical register that they only sign what they know to be true. A doctor may therefore need to check the entire medical records in some circumstances to ensure a report is accurate.
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.
(Source BMA: Why do GPs sometimes charge fees? Your questions answered)