The National Health Service provides most health care to most people free of charge, but there are exceptions such as prescription charges. The NHS does not employ GPs but has a contract with them to provide NHS general medical services for their patients. Sometimes, however, GPs are asked to provide additional services, which fall outside their contract with the NHS, and in these circumstances, they are entitled to make a reasonable charge for providing them. It is up to the individual practice to decide how much to charge, although the BMA produces lists of suggested fees for the Doctors to use as a guideline.
When a doctor signs a certificate or completes a report, the doctor needs to check the patient’s entire medical record to ensure that they are providing accurate information. GPs will not be able to complete forms at short notice, so please ensure that you allow for this when making your request.
It is worth remembering that not all documents need a 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 free of charge (Teacher, Accountant, etc). If you have several forms requiring completion, please present them all at the same time. You can also complete the form to the best of your ability in pencil, so the doctor just has to quickly verify your entries against the information held by the practice.
What is covered by the NHS and what is not?
Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge their NHS patients are:
- Signing passport application forms
- Private medical insurance reports
- Holiday cancellation claim forms
- Referral for private care forms
- Letters requested by, or on behalf of, the patient
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
- Examinations of company employees
Charges at Hanham Health
At Hanham Health we have a list of fees available at reception. A copy is also available here. If you want your GP to complete a report or form, which falls outside the GP’s contract with the NHS, the receptionists will collect any fees before any work is started. A receipt will be issued for any payments made.
Information for patients wishing to undertake private consultations or treatments
All referrals are made after consultation with the GP. In accordance with guidelines issued by The Department of Health, the following information is for those patients who elect to use Private Medical Services:-
- It is the responsibility of the patient to make their own appointment. Please inform the Medical Secretaries as soon as you know when and where your appointment will be, so that a letter can be prepared. Please note that unless the appointment is urgent, it is not always possible to produce a letter at very short notice.
- All Private referral letters are typed for collection from the front desk at Hanham or Oldland Surgery. Please make sure you arrange to pick up the letter to take with you to your appointment, as it contains important information for the specialist.
- Please note that if a consultant subsequently initiates treatment or provides a private prescription, it is not possible to transfer this to an NHS prescription. However, if medication is to continue and your GP takes over the monitoring of your condition, then an NHS prescription may be appropriate.
- Prior to any surgical procedure, your consultant is responsible for arranging MRSA screening and any treatment as appropriate.
- Following any private surgical procedure your consultant is responsible for arranging suture removal, dressings and any complications including infections. We are unable to arrange suture removal in the surgery for treatment you have received privately.
- Any blood tests requested by your Consultant will need to be organised by him/her and carried out on a private basis.
- Private Medical Insurance Companies usually require completion of a form to process a claim. Please note that GPs make a charge for this service in accordance with the British Medical Association Guidelines.
- Patients who are considering undergoing private cosmetic surgery abroad are advised to read the following information: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/cosmetic-treatments-guide/Pages/cosmetic-surgery-abroad.aspx