(See Below for information on Benefit Appeals)
The NHS provides most health care free of charge, but there are exceptions. Charges have to be made for services not covered by the NHS, for example, medical reports for insurance companies,
Why do we charge for non NHS work?
Most GPs are not employed by the NHS, they are self-employed, and they have to cover their costs - staff, heating, lighting, buildings, etc - in the same way as any other small business. The NHS covers these costs for NHS work, but for non-NHS work the fee has to cover the doctor's costs. In recent years, 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 be sure that information provided is true and accurate. All this work requires time on the part of the doctors and their administrative team.
Although it may seem that a form requires no more than a doctor’s signature, 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 may have to check a 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. The charge reflects either the time required to check information and/or the degree of responsibility signing the paperwork entails.
Here are some examples of non NHS services for which most GP practices charge a fee:
•Accident/sickness insurance certificates
•Certain travel vaccinations
•Private medical insurance reports
•Private medical consultation
•Freedom from infection certificate
•Private sick note
•BUPA/PPP etc claim forms
•Sickness/accident insurance claim forms
•Pre-employment medicals ( HGV, PCV, Taxi, Fitness for Sport, Racing Driver Certificate)
•Extracts from medical records
•Medical reports with and without associated physical examination
•Fitness to travel
Although we try to complete such forms and reports as quickly as possible it can often take at least four weeks. Our GPs have to find time to complete this sort of paperwork in addition to all of their other NHS work and duties which takes priority. It can take considerable time to read through a patient’s record in order to answer questions raised.
The cost will depend on what the item is; we will confirm the fee to you before any work is started.
Our charges are made in accordance with BMA guidelines, for more details please see our 'Fees & Charges' list at the surgery or speak to reception.
We accept cash only. We do not accept cheques or credit or debit cards and all fees are payable in advance.
Copies of test results and copy records can be aquired via our online access to medical records service, please ask reception for details.
Benefits Reforms & Requests for GP Letters & Forms
The Benefits System is undergoing major changes and we are aware that this is impacting on many of our patients.
GPs provide medical care to their patients and are not in a position to administer or police the benefits system. It is not appropriate for the GP to be asked for letters of support or letters to confirm housing, benefit appeals, job seekers allowance, council tax appeals or care needs. GPs are not contracted or
resourced to provide this service and do not have the capacity to do so. Time taken up with paperwork is time taken away from direct patient care. There are contracted and agreed methods for GPs to provide medical information to the Department of Work & Pensions, Warrington Borough Council and other agencies. These are sent to the Practice and
GPs respond directly to the departments requesting the information. Therefore we cannot respond directly to requests from patients for ‘letters of support’ or forms.
If you have been told by any agency to obtain such a letter from your GP please ask at reception for a copy of this information which you can then give to the department or organisation which has advised you to get a GP letter or form completed.