Not all services performed by our clinicians are covered by the NHS. When patients require non-NHS services a Private Fee will be payable. Fees must be paid in full before any private work is carried out. Our current scale of fees for non-NHS work can be downloaded on the right hand side.
Surely GPs are already being paid so why are fees charged?
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 other small business. The NHS’s contract with a GP or practice covers the medical services provided to NHS patients, including the provision of ongoing medical treatment.
In recent years more and more organisations have been involving doctors in a wide range of non-NHS work. This work is not funded by the NHS, so GPs have to charge a fee to cover their time and related expenses.
So, do GPs have to do non-NHS work for their patients?
With certain limited exceptions, your Doctor does not have to carry out non-NHS work; whilst GPs will always attempt to assist their patients with the completion of forms (eg. for insurance purposes) they are not required to carry out non-NHS work.
Why does it sometimes take my GP a long time to complete my letter/form?
Time spent completing forms and preparing reports takes GPs away from the medical care of their patients. GPs have an ever increasing workload, offering appointments and carrying out other urgent administration such as referrals and medication queries. Duties relating to direct patient care will always be prioritised over extra private work.
I only need a signature, why is there an issue?
When a GP signs a certificate, completes a report or writes a letter, it is a condition of their remaining on the medical register (which allows them to practice as a doctor) that they only sign what they know to be true. In order to complete even the simplest of forms, the doctor may have to check a patient’s entire medical record.
What will I be charged?
The British Medical Association (BMA – the professional association for doctors) provides a list of suggested fees for a wide range of non-NHS services. However, the list is intended for guidance purposes only as all GPs and Practices will have different costs and overheads to consider. Doctors are not obliged to charge these suggested rates, and the cost of each service will generally reflect the amount of work and time involved.
How long does the surgery need for the completion of reports, forms and letters?
We ask for 4 weeks’ notice although we do try and complete them sooner. Where a patient has an urgent request, this should always be explained to the receptionist who will note the urgency when they process the request. However, it may not always be possible to process a request faster since any clinically urgent work will always take precedent.
Why is there sometimes a charge after a road traffic accident?
Under the Road Traffic Act (1988), the first doctor providing emergency treatment to the victim of a road traffic accident is entitled to charge a fee. A fee may be levied for each person treated [as per Section 158(2) of the Road Traffic Act (1988)].
NHS funding does not cover the emergency treatment of road traffic accident (RTA) victims and GPs can charge a fee of £21.30 for each patient consulted. This fee is payable regardless of whether or not the patient is registered with the practice. This is applicable within the first 24hours of the accident.
Patients are advised that this fee is payable at the time of the consultation and you may be able reclaim the fee from either your own or the driver at fault’s insurance company.
The BMA advises that, since there may be a delay before injuries become apparent, anyone seen within one working day can be deemed an emergency.
If a patient wishes to see a GP for the purposes of record injuries for future medico-legal, this is not covered by the Road Traffic Act, nor does it fall under NHS General Medical Services, and GPs may charge their own rate for these consultations. The practice currently charges £85 for a private patient consultation regarding such an accident.
What can I do to help my GP?
Not all documents need a signature by a doctor, for example passport applications. You can ask another person in a position of trust to sign these documents free of charge.
If you have several forms requiring completion, present them all at once and ask your GP if he or she is prepared to complete them at the same time to speed up the process.
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 may cost more.
Some medical examinations and report processing services may be performed by any doctor, not necessarily a patient’s own or registered GP. For this work there are no set or recommended fees, which means doctors may set their own fees.
What are the rules for those from overseas?
If you have moved “for a settled purpose” to our area from overseas you may register as a standard NHS patient. If you are here for a temporary period your entitlement depends on the nature of your condition and the country you are from.
Treatment that is deemed as immediately necessary there is no charge as long as this lasts no longer than 14 days. Medication will be issued on an NHS prescription and payable at the pharmacy.
If your treatment is not immediately necessary, you may be given free treatment if you live in a country with a reciprocal health care agreement with the UK – this normally applies for 3 months only.
Further information for temporary residents and patients from overseas can be found on our Registrations page.