Not all of our services come under the umbrella of the NHS, and these services consequently attract a fee (just as an accountant or solicitor would charge for their time). Our GPs do non-NHS work out of NHS time at evenings or weekends so that NHS patient care does not suffer.
As a general rule the NHS does not pay for:
- Insurance reports and examinations
- Insurance claim forms
- Employers’ letters, certificates and reports
- Letters for schools, colleges, examination boards, etc
- Letters to the Housing Department
- Medical examinations (eg. pre-employment, HGV, diving)
- Copies of medical records or reports
- Passport forms
- Healthcare for non-UK residents
- Firearms medicals
Not all fees are payable by the patient. Some will be paid by the insurance company or employer, and this can cause some confusion. If you have any doubt about whether you will have to pay please ask our reception staff.
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, they are not required to do such non-NHS work.
Is it true that the BMA sets fees for non-NHS work?
The British Medical Association (BMA) suggest fees that GPs may charge their patients for non-NHS work (i.e. work not covered under their contract with the NHS) in order to help GPs set their own professional fees. However, the fees suggested by them are intended for guidance only; they are not recommendations and a doctor is not obliged to charge the rates they suggest.
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. Our GPs do non-NHS work out of NHS time at evenings or weekends so that NHS patient care does not suffer.
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.
If you are a new patient we may not have your medical records so the doctor must wait for these before completing the form.
What will I be charged?
It is recommended that GPs tell patients in advance if they will be charged, and what the fee will be. It is up to individual doctors to decide how much they will charge. The surgery has a list of fees based on these suggested fees which is available on request. For information on our current fees ask at our reception desk.
Please note that some fees vary according to how much time the private service takes.
Insurance Reports and Examinations
Insurance companies increasingly ask for a medical report from your GP when you take out life insurance, and many other financial products. In some circumstances they may also require a medical examination. Both of these are paid for by the insurance company.
We cannot give any information about your health to anyone without your written permission. The insurance company will have asked you to sign a consent form for this with your application. On this you can state whether you give your consent, and if so, whether you wish to see any reports before they are sent off – in this situation we will hold on to the report for up to three weeks to give you a chance to request a copy from us (the rules we follow are those laid down in the Medical Reports Act).
Insurance Claim Forms
These frequently have a medical section when the insurance relates to your health – eg. loan insurance, holiday cancellation insurance, private health insurance. You should fill in your section of the form before asking the GP to complete their section.
These forms are not paid for by the insurance company and you will therefore be charged a fee for our time.
Employers’ Letters, Certificates and Reports
The DSS Med3 form (or ‘sicknote’) can only be issued to patients who have been off work for more than six consecutive working days due to their own illness, and who have been seen by us during this illness.
Employers may sometimes request certificates for absences which do not fall within these strict rules. In these circumstances we may be able to provide a private certificate, but you will have to pay a fee – some employers reimburse this cost, so do ask them. Please print this to give to your employers advising them of this situation.
Employers may also write to us, with your written consent, for a medical report (in much the same way as insurance companies). In this situation the employer would usually pay the fee.
Letters for Schools, etc
All letters to schools, colleges, universities and exam boards are private and attract a fee. This is not something that we would do routinely and would be in agreement with the GP if appropriate. These would not be carried out urgently as they are not a core NHS service.
Letters to the Housing Department
It is increasingly common for the Housing Department to request a letter from a doctor as a means of verifying claims of special housing need. We prefer not to get involved in housing issues, but may be willing to provide a letter in certain circumstances. Ideally the Housing Department should write to us, enclosing the patient’s consent, and agreeing to pay our fee. Alternatively the patient can request a letter directly from us, but in this situation the fee is payable by the patient.
Medical examinations are sometimes requested by insurance companies, employers, and potential employers, or they may be required in order to hold a particular driving licence, or to take part in certain sports. Employment and insurance medicals are usually paid for by the company, but most other medicals are paid for by the patient.
Because of the time it takes to do a full medical examination the fees are considerably more than our other private services. In addition there may be fees for blood tests, X-rays and ECGs.
We do not offer an occupational health service, this is the responsibility of your employers.
We will not say that you are fit to carry out recreational activities. We will only provide a statement of fact advising on any medical conditions you may have.
Copies of Medical Records or Reports
You are entitled to see copies of your medical records. In many cases such requests are made by a solicitor acting on your behalf and representing you in a legal dispute. Requests should be made in writing, enclosing your written consent if someone is acting on your behalf. Charges may be levied but this will be in discussion with you.
You can have access to your electronic records and then you will be responsible for whom you give them to.
Due to a new requirement for the countersignatory to provide their passport number on your passport application forms, we have decided we are no longer willing to provide this service.
Please note that whoever countersigns your passport form has to have known you for at least two years.
Healthcare for Non-UK Residents
People who normally reside outside the UK are not entitled to NHS treatment, unless they have an emergency need for medical care. This rule applies regardless of their nationality, or which passport they hold.
If you are referred for further treatment from secondary care services, you will be liable to pay for this. We do not write letters to confirm residency status or confirmation of addresses. We are sorry if this is not helpful but we cannot possibly know where someone lives only that the address they use is valid on the date of registration.
Police no longer accept any SGC/FAC application unless it is accompanied by a completed standardised proforma which the GP will need to complete. Therefore the applicant will now be asking them to confirm/deny the presence of any diagnoses of concern rather than the police. The medical process of firearms applications falls outside of core GMS contractual obligations and therefore attracts a private fee.