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Why GPs Sometimes Charge Fees

Why do GPs sometimes charge fees?

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 - staff, buildings, heating, lighting, etc. - in the same way as any small business. The NHS covers these costs for NHS work, but for non-NHS work, the fees charged by GPs contribute towards their costs. 

Why does it sometimes take my GP a long time to complete my form?

Time spent completing forms and preparing reports takes the GP away from the medical care of their patients. Most GPs have a very heavy workload and paperwork takes up an increasing amount of their time, so many GPs find they have to take some paperwork home at night and weekends.

I only need the doctor’s signature – what is the problem?

When a doctor signs a certificate or completes a report, it is a condition of remaining on the Medical Register that they only sign what they know to be true. In order to complete even the simplest of forms, therefore, the doctor might have 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) or the police.

What can I do to help?

Do not expect your GP to process forms or supply reports or letters overnight. You should allow up to 3 weeks for the doctor to complete the work.

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