Our GPs are increasingly being asked to complete reports and letters, and we wanted to take this opportunity to give some background and explain why we ask for 5 working days for such paperwork to be completed. Thank you for your cooperation.
Time spent completing forms and preparing reports takes the GP away from the medical care of his/her patients. Most GPs have a very heavy workload – Our GPs work up to 60 hours per week and paperwork takes up an increasing amount of their time. In addition non-NHS work must be undertaken outside of NHS contracted time.
The National Health Service provides most health care to most people free of charge, but there are exceptions. Sometimes the charge is made to cover some of the cost of treatment, for example dental fees. In other cases it is because the service isn’t covered by the NHS, for example, medical reports of insurance companies, claims on private health insurance and other letters and forms which require the doctor to review the patient’s medical records.
It is important to understand that 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 pays the doctor for specific NHS work but for non NHS work the fee has to cover the doctor’s costs. Our fees are calculated based on our GPs Private hourly rate.
What is covered by the NHS and what is not?
The government’s contract with GPs covers medical services to NHS patients. In recent years, more and more organisations have been involving doctors in a whole range of non-medical work. Sometimes the reason that GPs are asked is because they are in a position of trust in the community, or because an insurance company or employer wants to be sure that information provided is true and accurate.
Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge their patients
Certain travel vaccinations
- Private medical insurance reports
- Holiday cancellation forms
- Referral for private care forms
- Appropriate letters requested on behalf of the patient
- In certain instances fitness to work forms
Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge other institutions are
Medical reports for an insurance company
- Some reports for the DSS/Benefits Agency
- Examinations of local authority employees