Private Non-NHS Charges
Please note that there is usually a 10 working-day turnaround from receiving a form to completion / collection.
Examples include the following:
- Medicals for pre-employment, sports and driving requirements (HGV, PSV etc.)
- Insurance claim forms
- Passport signing
- Prescriptions for taking medication abroad
- Private sick notes
- Vaccination certificates
Why GPs sometimes charge fees?
The National Health Service provides healthcare to most people free of charge, but there are exceptions: prescription charges still exist in England and there are a number of other non-NHS services for which fees are charged, for example, medical reports for insurance companies, claim forms for referral for private care, letters and forms which require the doctor to review the patient's medical records.
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 fee has to cover the doctor's time and 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.
Why does it sometimes take my GP a long time to complete my form?
Time spent completing forms, preparing reports and checking medical records takes the GP away from the medical care of his or her patients. As most non-NHS work is not urgent we aim to complete non-NHS work within 10 working days.
Most 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?
Often Patients complain that they only require a Doctor to sign a certificate or complete a report. What is rarely considered is that 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.
Naturally there is a charge for the time required to check information and/or the degree of responsibility in signing the document.
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.
Is it true that the BMA sets fees for non-NHS work?
BMA suggest fees that GPs may charge 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 BMA are intended for guidance only; they are not recommendations and doctors are not obliged to charge the rates the BMA suggest.
What will I be charged?
BMA recommend 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, but BMA produce lists of suggested for the Doctors to use as a guideline.
Please see list of BMA suggested fees, alongside the Practice charge below.
What can be done to avoid charges?
Not all documents need to be signed by a doctor. For example, a teacher, an accountant, etc. may be willing to sign a passport application free of charge.
If you are reapplying for a passport, and can be recognised from your current photo, you may not be required to have a countersignature.
What type of report work doesn't have to be done by my GP?
There is some medical examination and report work that can be done by any doctor, not only a patient's GP. For this work there are no set or recommended fees which means doctors may set their own fees. BMA offer guidelines only.
Private Non-NHS Patient Charges