Some services are not covered by the NHS and we will therefore charge a fee for completion of this work. The NHS medical care of our patients takes priority during our working day so any private letters or forms can take up to 3 weeks to complete and return to you. We cannot guarantee they will be completed any earlier than this so it is important to plan ahead if you need something before a specific date.
Why do GPs sometimes charge fees?
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 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 these costs.
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 postion of trust in the community or because an insurance company or employer wants to ensure that 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 complete this work outside of and in addition to their normal hours.
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.