Frequently asked questions regarding Non NHS Services
Why are fees charged?
The Governments contract with the GP's covers medical services to NHS patients. However 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 government, so GP's have to charge a fee to cover their time and other expenses.
Surely the doctor is being paid anyway?
It is important to understand that many GP's are not employed by the NHS. They are self-employed and they have to cover the costs of everything from the limited NHS funds provided - staff wages, buildings, heating, lighting, etc. - in the same way as any small business. The NHS covers costs for NHS work, but not for non-NHS work, the fees charged by GP's contribute towards keeping the surgery running.
Do GP's have to do non-NHS work for their patients?
With certain limited exceptions, GP's do not have to carry out non-NHS work. Many GP's however will always attempt to assist their patients and carry out this work.
Why does it sometimes take my GP a long time to complete my form/letter?
Time spent completing forms and preparing reports takes the GP away from the medical care of patients which will always have top priority. GP's have an ever increasing workload of forms which must be prioritised against offering appointments and other urgent administration. We aim to complete non-NHS work within two weeks of receipt.
I only need the GP's signature - what's the problem?
When a GP signs a certificate, completes a report or writes a letter it is a condition of 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 forms, the doctor may have to check a patient's entire medical record.