Why do GPs charge fees? Your questions answered
Isnt the NHS supposed to be free?
The National Health Service provides most health care to most people free of charge, but there are exceptions, for example prescription charges, and there are a number of other services for which fees are charged. This is because the service is not covered by the NHS, for example medical reports for insurance companies, claim forms for referral to private care and other letters and forms which require the GP to review the patient's medical record.
Surely the GP is being paid anyway?
GPs are not employed by the NHS. They are self-employed and 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 GP's costs.
What is covered by the NHS and what is not?
Some services provided are not covered under our contract with the NHS and therefore attract charges. Examples include the following:
- Medicals for pre-employment, sports and driving requirements (HGV, PSV etc.)
- Prescriptions for taking medication abroad
- Private sick notes
- Vaccination certificates
Examples of non-NHS services for which GP's can charge other institutions are;
The fees charged are based on the British Medical Association (BMA) suggested scales and our reception staff will be happy to advise you about them along with appointment availability.
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. GP's have a very heavy workload and paperwork takes up an increasing amount of their time.
I only need a GP signature - what is the problem?
When a GP 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 most simplest of forms, the GP needs to check the patient's entire medical record. Carelessness or inaccurate reports can have serious consequences for the GP.
Why do I need to pay upfront?
In the past we have completed reports before payment has been made, but sadly there have been many occasions when the GP has completed the work but payment has not been made. Therefore we are now asking that the fee be paid in advance at the time of the request, or when the appointment is booked for.
See the link below for a list of our Non NHS chargeable fees:
Non NHS charges