Private Medical Services

Why GPs Charge Fees

Isn’t the NHS supposed to be free?

The National Health Service provides most health care to most people free of charge, but there are exceptions. In many cases it is because the service is not covered by the NHS, for example medical reports for insurance companies.

Surely the doctor is being paid anyway?

It is important to understand that GPs are not employed by the NHS, they are self-employed, and they need 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 not for non-NHS work, the fee has to cover the doctor’s costs.

What is covered by the NHS and what is not?

The Government’s contract with GPs covers medical services to NHS patients. Sometimes the only reason that a GP is asked to provide information is because they hold a position of trust in the community, or because an insurance company wants to be sure that the information provided to them is true and correct.

Examples of Non-NHS services which GPs can charge their NHS patients:

  • Accident/ sickness insurance certificates and reports
  • Private medical insurance reports
  • Medicals for HGV/Taxi
  • Reports for ‘fitness to start a diet regime’
  • Holiday cancellation forms

Examples of Non-NHS services which GPs can charge other institutions:

  • Medical reports for an insurance company
  • Some reports for the Department of Work and Pensions in relation to benefits

Please see our fees list for more information.

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

Time spent completing reports and writing letters takes the GP away from medical care for NHS patients. GPs have very heavy workloads and paperwork is taking up more and more clinical time. Even if your form only requires a doctor’s signature, a GP may have to check your entire medical record in order to comply with General Medical Council requirements to only sign something which they know to be true.

How much will I be charged?

Please see the fees list for the most common services. In some cases a charge is higher depending on the complexity of a patient’s medical conditions and how long it may take the GP to collate all the necessary information.

Payment should be made when the form or request is made. Appointments for medicals will only be made once payment is received. Payment for services can be made by cash or card. There will be no refund in case of dissatisfaction with the doctor’s professional opinion.