Non-NHS Work: common questions

Why do I have to pay for some GP work?

The government contracts with a GP to provide specific medical work. There is however a number of medical related tasks that are not covered by the NHS and therefore may be provided by a GP.

GPs are also able to charge patients for documents and reports such as:

  • Accident or sickness certificates for insurance companies
  • To Whom it May Concern letters
  • Reports to health and sports clubs to confirm that patients are fit to exercise
  • School fee and holiday insurance certificates.

Why does the GP have to charge me a fee, as surely they are already paid a salary by the NHS?

GPs are self employed and their costs are only covered for work they carry out for the NHS. Non-NHS work also incurs costs, including staff salaries, building rent, heat and electricity as well as equipment costs and supplies. All of these costs need to be covered and why the GP needs to charge a fee for non-NHS provided work.

Why does it take so long for the GP to complete and sign letters and forms for me?

Doctors are required by their professional organisation to only sign what they know to be true. Often, even if only completing a simple form, requires a doctor to check a patient’s medical record, sometimes going back years. This can take a lot of time and work.

GPs also have heavy workloads and so often this work needs to be completed outside of normal working hours, sometimes at home and on weekends.

Can I insist that a GP certify or complete a form for me?

With the except of a small number of items, such as confirming that someone is not fit for jury service, a GP does not have to carry out non-NHS work.


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