Why are fees charged?
The government's contract with GPs covers medical services to NHS patients. However, 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, so GPs have to charge a fee to cover their time and other expenses.
Please ask if you would like a private consultation. Private consultations are chargeable on the basis of:
- The time taken for the GP consultation and any associated medical administration.
- The time taken by any nurse appointment or assistance in providing treatment.
- Any private prescriptions issued
- Any drugs, dressings or medical consumables used in your treatment.
The practice can arrange to see patients who are not entitled to free NHS treatment on a private basis. Estimates for consultations / treatments will be provided before you are seen and payment will be required in advance unless prior credit arrangements have been agreed with the practice.
Non-core NHS work e.g. medicals, forms and reports etc
Surely the doctor is being paid anyway?
It is important to understand that many 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 fees charged by GPs contribute towards their costs.
What is covered by the NHS and what is not?
The Government’s contract with GPs covers medical services to NHS patients, including the provision of ongoing medical treatment.
In recent years, however, more and more organisations have been involving doctors in a whole range of non-medical work.
Sometimes the only reason that GPs are asked is because they are in a position of trust in the community, or because an insurance company or employer wants to ensure that information provided to them is true and accurate.
This is a link to the BMA website where it gives examples of private work and the cost of practices doing such work https://www.bma.org.uk/advice/employment/fees/fee-finder
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.
The practice is currently not doing non-core NHS work unless in exceptional circumstances and therefore while a full list of prices are given above as a guide for us, we may not be providing all of these non-core nhs services. Please contact the secretaries on 01733 796622 Option 5 to enquire further.