Medical Examinations (Non-NHS)
Certain services provided by the Doctors are not covered by the NHS and fees are payable for such items as:
- HGV & PSV licences
- Elderly driver licences
- Pre-employment medicals
- Private certificates
- Holiday vaccinations
- Insurance claims
- Fitness for sports
Why GP’s Sometimes Charge Fees
The National Health Service provides most health care to most people free of charge, but there are exceptions: Prescription charges have existed since 1951, and there are a number of other services for which fees are charged. Sometimes the charge is made to cover some of the cost of treatment, for example, dental fees. In other cases it is because the service is not covered by the NHS, for example, medical reports for insurance companies, claim forms for referral for private care and other letters and forms which require the doctor to review the patient’s medical records.
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 pays the Doctor for specific 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 on-going 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.
Examples Of Non NHS Services For Which GP’s Can Charge Their Own NHS Patients:
- Accident or sickness certificates for insurance purposes.
- School fee and holiday insurance certificates.
- Reports for health clubs to certify that patients are fit to exercise.
Examples Of Non NHS Services For Which GP’s Can Charge Other Institutions:
- Medical reports and income protection reports for insurance companies.
- Reports for the department for work and pensions (DWP) in connection with disability living allowance and attendance allowance.
- Medical reports for local authorities in connection with adoption and fostering.
Do GP’s 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/her patients. GPs have a very heavy workload and paperwork takes up an increasing amount of their time. 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. Therefore, in order to complete even the simplest of forms, the doctor needs 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.
Is It True That The British Medical Association Sets Fees For Non NHS Work?
Yes the BMA suggest fees that GPs should charge their patients for non-NHS work (ie work not covered under their contract with the NHS) in order to help GPs set their own professional fees. However, the fees suggested by are intended for guidance only; they are not recommendations and a doctor is not obliged to charge the rates we suggest, they can chose to charge more or less.
What Can I do To Help?
Not all documents need signature by a doctor. For example, you could ask another person in a position of trust, who may be willing to sign a form free of charge. (Teacher, Accountant, etc) 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.
All medicals must be paid for upon booking of the appointment. As we need to allocate half an hour of GP time to each medical examination this fee is non refundable if the patient fails to attend the appointment or cancels at less than 2 hours notice.
There will be no exceptions.