What is non-NHS work and why is there a fee?
The NHS provides most health care free of charge, but there are exceptions such as prescription fees and GP letters. The Government’s contract with GPs covers medical services but not non-NHS work. It is important to understand that many GPs are not employed by the NHS; they are self-employed and they have to cover their costs in the same way as any small business. In recent years more and more organisations have been involving doctors in a whole range of non-medical work.
Do GPs have to do non-NHS work for their patients?
Whilst we will always attempt to assist our patients with the completion of letters and forms, our priority is our NHS work. GPs do not have to carry out non-NHS work.
What will I be charged?
Non-NHS work is charged in line with British Medical Association guidance but it is up to individual practices and GPs to set their own professional fees.
How do I request a letter?
Please put your request in writing and submit it to the secretary. We will respond with a fee for the service. Usually non-NHS work will take up to 21 days. As soon as your GP has completed your request, you will be contacted and collection arranged.
Please see the FAQs section below:
Why can’t I have a particular letter?
We will usually not provide “fit to….” letters for doing a particular activity. This is because we are not insured to do this. We will write a letter stating facts about current conditions and past medical conditions but we will not comment on fitness to do a particular activity. We recommend that you contact a travel clinic or a private sports’ medicine specialist.
We are sometimes asked for letters from employers about a patient’s fitness. This is rarely appropriate from a GP and should come via Occupational Health.
We will not fill in forms for Power of Attorney or for Mental Capacity issues. These questions should be addressed to a private psychiatrist or a solicitor.
We are unable to countersign passport forms for UK passports as they require too much personal information about the person countersigning. There are a wide range of people you can ask instead. See the link below. https://www.gov.uk/countersigning-passport-applications/accepted-occupations-for-countersignatories for more details)
I only need the doctor’s signature – what is the problem?
In order to complete even the simplest of forms, the GP often has 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 (the doctors’ regulatory body).
If you are a new patient we may not have your medical records so the doctor must wait for these before completing the form.
Why does it sometimes take my GP a long time to complete my form?
Time spent completing forms and preparing reports takes GPs away from the medical care of their patients. GPs have a very heavy workload and paperwork takes up an increasing amount of our time. GPs do non-NHS work out of NHS time at evenings or weekends so that NHS patient care does not suffer.
Why do I have to pay for travel vaccinations?
Some travel vaccinations are within NHS services and therefore free to you as the patient. Others are not and these will be charged for accordingly
My employer wants me to get a blood test, why do I have to pay?
Blood tests requested by employers should be offered through Occupational Health. Your employer should have access to an Occupational Health scheme. We will not do these blood tests on the NHS. Your employer should pay this charge usually.
My solicitor needs copies of my notes – anything I need to be aware of?
When a solicitor asks for copies of your notes, as long as we have your consent, we will provide them. Solicitors are increasingly asking for copies of your notes rather than for a report. However please be aware that this can mean both sides of any dispute getting access to your notes and that everything you have ever mentioned to a doctor will be included. Many patients are unaware of this and are then embarrassed or upset when seemingly irrelevant facts are used by lawyers in a dispute. We would normally recommend refusing consent for your notes to be copied and asking the lawyer to request a targeted report instead.