Private Charges in General Practice
Why is there a charge for this letter/service?
The NHS provides certain services which GPs offer and for which they are paid by the NHS. There are many things which patients request from GPs which are not covered by this. All of these things need to be paid for.
How long will it take?
We aim to complete all forms within 4 weeks of payment and all letters within 2 weeks of payment.
Why do private services take longer than NHS services?
We generally prioritise NHS “jobs”. Most doctors are here for around 12+ hours a day doing their NHS work. Private work is done on top of that. We find time for it by staying even longer to do this work.
I only need a quick letter. Why does it cost that much?
Private services are entirely optional. We actually don’t have to offer any of them. We do so because we know that patients sometimes find the services valuable and we know that it can be hard to find another private provider. However we have to value our own time and that of our staff – we set our costs accordingly.
I need a taxi/HGV medical and I don’t have any medical conditions. Why does it cost the same for me as for someone with a complex history?
We charge a standard fee for all taxi and HGV medicals. We are filling in the same legal documents regardless of your medical condition. Sometimes some patients do take longer than others but we take the view that this is the fairest way. There are other providers of taxi medicals if you would rather go elsewhere.
Why has my life insurance request taken so long?
Some private requests come from insurance companies. They often offer an unacceptable amount of payment, negotiation has to take place before we will agree to complete the forms. This can take several weeks. This sometimes delays forms being completed. You are welcome to contact your insurance company if you are concerned about the delay.
I asked for this last year and I wasn’t charged for it. Why now?
This was a mistake last year! We will not charge you in retrospect but we will charge now and in the future.
I cannot afford to pay what you are asking.
We are sorry but we are unable to offer a sliding scale of fees. We charge what these items are worth. As previously stated, none of these things has to be done through the GP. If you find a cheaper service elsewhere you are welcome to use that service.
Can you just give it to me now and I will bring the money in later?
Sorry, all payment is required in advance in the form of debit/credit card or cash. If the receptionist is unclear whether the doctors can complete your request they will ask the doctors and get back to you. You will then have to come back and pay before the letter/form is completed.
My employers want me to get this blood test or this letter. Can I have it on the NHS?
Blood tests requested by employers should be offered through Occupational Health. Your employer should have access to an Occupational Health scheme. We do not do these blood tests on the NHS.
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 write a letter stating current condition and past medical conditions but we will not comment on fitness to carry out a particular job.
I need copies of my notes for my solicitor.
When a solicitor asks for copies of your notes, as long as we have your consent, we will provide them. Please note: solicitors are increasingly asking for copies of your notes rather than for a report. This is because there is a fixed (smaller) charge for copies of your notes. If you are happy for the solicitor to have copies of all your notes we will provide this. 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.
If notes are requested in full, you will either need to collect these and take them to the solicitors yourself or the solicitor will need to organise a courier to collect them on your behalf. We will need to see signed consent from you and held by the courier that you have agreed for them to collect your notes.