The NHS provides most healthcare to most people free of charge, but there are exceptions i.e. prescription charges, and there are a number of other services for which fees are charged. Sometimes the charge is made to cover some of the cost of treatment e.g. dental fees; in other cases it is because it is not covered by the NHS, for example: medical reports for insurance companies.
Private medical services are not covered by the NHS and there is a fee charged to cover the costs of the extra work.
What is covered by the NHS and what is not?
NHS England's contract with GPs covers medical services to NHS patients. 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.
The most common services for which fees are charged include:
|Type of Service||Payable By|
|Certificate of existence||Patient|
|Sick note (private)||Patient|
|Freedom from infection certificate||Patient|
|Fitness to travel certificate||Patient|
|Fitness for sport certificate||Patient|
|BUPA etc insurance claims||Patient|
|Holiday cancellation claim form||Patient|
|Report to DVLA||DVLA|
|Medical Attendant's report for insurance||Insurance Company/Patient|
|Reports to employers||Employer/Patient|
|Fitness to undertake exercise regime||Patient|
|Childminder health form||Patient/Employer|
|Medical examinations for insurance or employment||Patient/Insurance Company/Employer|
|Lasting Power of Attorney examination||Patient|
|Completion of D4 (HGV etc)||Patient/Employer|
|Medical examinations for sport or fitness to travel||Patient|
|Some travel vaccinations and medication||Patient|
Details of the charges may be obtained from Reception. There is also a list of fees in the waiting room on the notice board. Please note that VAT is payable on some items.
I only need the doctor's signature - what is the problem?
In order to complete even the simplest of forms 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 or even the Police.
What can I do to help?
Not all documents need signing by a doctor, for example passport applications. You can ask another person in a position of trust to sign such documents free of charge.
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 will cost more.
111 is the NHS non-emergency number. It's fast, easy and free. Call 111 and speak to a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals.
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