Patient Charges

Why do GPs charge fees – Your questions answered

Isn't the NHS supposed to be free? 

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 own costs such as staff, buildings, heating, lighting etc., in the same way as any other small business. The NHS pays the doctor for specific NHS work, but for non-NHS work the fee has to cover the doctor's costs.

What is covered by the NHS and what is not?

The government's contract with GPs covers medical services to NHS patients. In recent years, more and more organisations have been involving doctors in a whole range of non-medical work.

Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge their NHS patients are:

  • Private prescriptions*
  • Private sick notes (if requested for the first 7 days when patients can self certificate)
  • Some travel vaccinations
  • Private medical insurance reports
  • Holiday cancellation claim forms
  • Referral for private care forms
  • Other letters requested by, or on behalf of, the patient

*A doctor can write a private prescription for a patient if they feel it is clinically appropriate and they are happy to take responsibility for that prescribing decision. Under NHS regulations, a dr, or his deputy, can write a private prescription for a patient but cannot charge the patient a fee for doing so if the patient is registered for NHS care with that GP/practice. The only exceptions to this rule are when an NHS GP writes a private prescription for:

  • Drugs that are being issued solely in anticipation of the onset of an ailment whilst outside the UK, but for which the patient does not require treatment when the medicine is prescribed, or,
  • Drugs issued for the prevention of malaria

Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge other institutions are:

  • Medical reports for an insurance company
  • Some reports for the DSS/Benefits Agency/DVLA
  • Examinations of local authority employees

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 registered 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.

What will I be charged?

The BMA recommends that GPs tell patients in advance if they will be charged, and how much. It is up to the individual practice to decide how much to charge, but the BMA produces lists of suggested fees for the Doctors to use as a guideline.

Charges at Shotfield Medical Practice

At Shotfield Medical Practice we have a guide to private fees available at reception, and they are also listed below.

You will be asked to pay the fee in cash or by cheque at the time you collect the form/letter and you will not be given this item until the payment has been made. We do not hold cash on the premises so please try and ensure you bring correct money if paying by cash. Otherwise please make all cheques payable to Shotfield Medical Practice.

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 passport application or other similar document free of charge, eg bank manager, teacher, accountant.

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. We normally say you should allow a minimum of 10 working days for the processing of such forms and always ring to check they are ready before you attend to collect them.

Private Charges – from August 2017

 Certificates/Prescriptions

Private sick notes

£30.00

Other vaccination certificate

£15.00

Private prescription (Malaria, private patients & for items issued in anticipation of being required when outside UK only – see above)

£15.00

School certification

Short

£18.00

Detailed

£30.00 - 63.00

 Reports/forms

DVLA – relating to the withdrawal or reinstatement of a licence:

VOC Certificate (relates to the medical condition of the patient)

£12.50

Copy of report on patients visual fields (can be done by an administrator)

£42.00

VOC resting ECG certificate (can be completed by a practice nurse)

£88.00

Fitness for gym/sports, freedom from infection, fitness to travel

£30.00

Holiday cancellation form

£30.00

Insurance claim forms & form to appeal decision re: DVLA, Attendance Allowance, etc

£35.00

Extract from medical records:

Short

£25.00

Medium

£40.00

Long

£55.00

Insurance

GP report for insurance applicants (written or template)

£104.00

GP supplementary reports or letters

£27.00

Copy of doctor's report to insurance company (up to 6 mths after)

£15.00

Consultation with doctor to discuss the report

£35.00

Access to Medical Records

Maximum fee (under Data Protection Act 1998) for copy notes and other access requests

£50.00

Access Charges:

Access fee

£10.00

Photocopying charges

35p per page

Postage

As incurred

Up to a max fee of £50.00.  The max fee of £50.00 is charged to all third parties for appropriate subject access requests.  Insurance companies are not permitted to make SARs (see protocol).

Miscellaneous/letters/reports

Private consultation – per 15 mins (if home visit required additional time/travel will be charged)

£35.00

Housing/social services letters

£25.00 - 35.00

Pro-forma report

£50.00

Letters:

Brief letter

£40.00

Letter & Extract

£60.00

Detailed letter

£80.00

Extra info

£20.00 - 40.00

Power of attorney cert and will competence

£50.00 - 100.00 depending on time taken & whether consultation takes place in surgery or at patients home

Medicals

General medical exam and report
(this fee is due in advance and is non-refundable)

£75.00

HGV/MGV/PCV/racing/sport/taxi medical and form
(this fee is due in advance and is non-refundable)

£130.00

Elderly & fostering

£80.00

Comprehensive exam and report
(this fee is due in advance and is non-refundable)

£130.00

  • Passport signing is not undertaken by any doctor at the practice.
  • The Metropolitan police will pay a fee of up to £38.00 for a brief/basic statement/report and there is a form to complete to claim this fee which should be provided by the patient requesting the report.  Further charges may apply if a request is made for more detailed information.

Travel Charges

For more information on current charges to patients for travel vaccinations or certificates, please see our Travel Advice & Vaccinations page.

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© Neighbourhood Direct Ltd 2017
Shotfield, Wallington, Surrey, SM6 0HY
  • Telephone 020 8669 7612
Practice Website supplied by Oldroyd Publishing Group
Save time and nominate your local pharmacy. Your Neighbourhood Professionals Lenore Dunmore Counselling
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