Non-NHS Services

Private (Non NHS Work)

Frequently, we receive requests to provide services that fall outside the scope of typical NHS duties. These services may include completing medical and insurance forms, conducting private medical assessments, and preparing reports or letters to address health-related concerns. It’s important to note that much of this work is not covered by NHS funding and will require separate payment.

Isn’t the NHS free?

The National Health Service provides most health care to most people free of charge, but there are exceptions: prescription charges have existed since 1951 and there are several other services for which fees are charged.

Sometimes the charge is made to cover some of the cost of treatment, for example, dental fees; in other cases, it is because the service is not covered by the NHS, for example, providing copies of health records or producing medical reports for insurance companies

Isn’t the NHS employing my doctor?

Many GPs are self-employed and not directly employed by the NHS. They have to cover their own expenses like staff, buildings, heating, and lighting, just like any small business. The fees they charge for non-NHS work help them cover these costs, while the NHS covers them for NHS work.

Do GPs have to do non-NHS work for their patients?

Except for court-ordered work, GPs are not obligated to perform non-NHS tasks for their patients. While they may help with form completion for things like insurance, it is not mandatory. GPs typically only refuse work if there are valid reasons, such as not being able to meet deadlines due to other commitments or not feeling competent to provide the required information.

How do you establish fees for non-NHS services?

The BMA provides guidance on fees that GPs may consider charging patients for non-NHS work that is outside of their contract with the NHS. These suggested fees are meant to assist GPs in setting their own professional rates but are not mandatory. It is important to note that the fees suggested by the BMA are for guidance purposes only and doctors are not required to follow them.

What are the reasons for the delays in completing my form by my GP?

The time GPs dedicate to filling out forms and creating reports detracts from the time they could be spending providing medical care to their patients. Given their already overwhelming workload, many GPs are finding that paperwork is becoming a larger and larger portion of their schedule, often resulting in them having to bring work home with them on evenings and weekends.

What seems to be the problem? I just need the doctor’s signature.

Doctors must ensure that any certificates or reports they sign are true to the best of their knowledge in order to stay on the Medical Register. This may require reviewing all relevant medical records before completing any documentation. Mistakes or inaccuracies in reports can lead to disciplinary action by the General Medical Council or even involvement of law enforcement.

What are the charges for this service?

The British Medical Association advises that general practitioners inform patients in advance of any charges and provide details of the fees. The amount of the fee is at the discretion of the individual doctor. The current suggested fee is £280 per hour to cover all costs including secretarial, admin, buildings, indemnity insurance and doctors time.

How can I help?

Some documents, like passport applications, do not require a doctor’s signature. You can ask a trusted individual to sign these types of documents for free.

To streamline the process, consider presenting all necessary forms to your GP at once and ask if they can complete them in one visit.

Keep in mind that your GP may not be able to process forms immediately, especially for urgent requests. In such cases, additional fees may apply for special arrangements to expedite the process.