Why do GPs sometimes charge fees?

Your questions answered…

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: prescription charges have existed since 1951, and there are a number of other services for which fees are charged. 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 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 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 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. In recent years, more and more organisations have been involving doctors in a whole range of non-medical work. Sometimes the only 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 NHS patients are:

  • accident/sickness insurance certificates
  • certain travel vaccinations
  • private medical insurance reports

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
  • DS 1500 Form (Disability Living/Attendance Allowance)

Is it true that the BMA sets fees for non-NHS work?

The BMA suggests fees for non-NHS work which is not covered under a GP’s NHS contract, to help GPs set their own professional fees. However, these fees are guidelines only, not recommendations, and a doctor is not obliged to charge the rates suggested.

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 his or her patients. Most GPs have a very heavy workload – the majority work up to 70 hours a week – 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 or even the Police.

What will I be charged?

The BMA recommends that GPs tell patients in advance if they will be charged, and how much. It is up to the individual doctor to decide how much to charge, but the BMA produces lists of suggested fees which many doctors use. Surgeries often have lists of fees on the waiting room wall based on these suggested fees.

What can I do to help?

  • Not all documents need signature by a doctor, for example passport applications. You can ask another person in a position of trust to sign such documents free of charge.
  • If you have several forms requiring completion, present them all at once and ask your GP if he or she is prepared to complete them all at once as a (job lot) at a reduced price.
  • Do not expect your GP to process forms overnight. You should expect the form(s) to take up to 4 weeks for the GP to complete and return

The Groves Medical Group

Fees for Non NHS Services

The Practice will make a charge for certain services that are not available under the NHS.

Forms may take on average a minimum four weeks to complete by the surgery.

Payment is required by the practice prior to forms being completed.

Letters, Certificates, Sick Notes and Forms Fee
Straightforward certificate of fact £23
Complex letters requiring professional opinion £34
Accident or Sickness Insurance Certificate £45
School Fees or Holiday Insurance Certificate £45
Freedom from Infection Certificate £34
Fitness to Travel/Fly £34
Fitness for Health Club/Exercise/Sporting Events £45
Private Sick Note £45
Police Medical Questionnaire Form £34
Student Finance England Form £45
Firearm/Shotgun Licence £40
Incapacity Benefit Report £57
Occupational Health Form £57
Specific Medical Reports Fee
Army Recruitment Medical Form £65
Gender Recognition Medical Report £96
Pre-employment Medical Report w/o Examination £113
Pre-employment Medical Report w/ Examination £153
Insurance Reports Fee
GP Insurance Report £118
Targeted GP Insurance Report £104
GP Supplementary Report £31
DVLA & Pilot Licence Fee
DVLA Report (Series 2) £40
DVLA Medical Examination £80
DVLA Taxi Medical £100
Pilot’s Licence Medical £96
Adopting, Fostering and Childminder Fee
AH Fostering & Adoption – Adult Health Report £135
AH2 Fostering & Adoption – Update Adult Health Report £62
Childminder Health Form £103
Cremation Fee
Cremation Form £93
Benefits Fee
DS1500 Disability/Attendance Allowance Form Free
SF100 Sure Start Maternity Grant Free
PIP Form – Independent Assessment Services £33.50
COP3/LPA Assessment/Mental Capacity Report Fee
Mental Health Report £135
Mental Health Report w/ Home Visit £210
Visa, Immigration and Citizenship Fee
Proof of Life Certificate £34
Proof of Life Certificate w/ Home Visit £119
Visa/Immigration Application Declaration £50
Exemption from Life in UK Immigration Test £50
British Citizenship Application Referee £50
Government Department and Agencies Reports Fee
Pro Forma Report (20 Minutes) £61.90
Written Report (30 Minutes) £94.15
Medical Examination (45 Minutes) £135.20
Private/Non-Government Reports Fee
Pro Forma Report (20 Minutes) £89.50
Written Report (30 Minutes) £133
Medical Examination (45 Minutes) £195
Travel Vaccinations – *Price per dose*  PRICE
Diphtheria/Tetanus/Polio FREE
Hepatitis A & Typhoid (1 dose) FREE
Hepatitis A & B Adult (Twinrix, 3 doses) FREE
Hepatitis A & B Junior (Twinrix, 3 doses) FREE
Hepatitis A Adult (2 doses, given at 0 and 6 – 12 months) FREE
Hepatitis A Junior (2 doses, given at 0 and 6 -12 months) FREE
Hepatitis B Adult / Junior (3 doses ) (FREE TO ‘AT RISK GROUP’) £40
Jap B Encephalitis (2 doses, 1 month apart) £95
Men ACWY (1 dose, booster after 5/8 years) (FREE TO ELIGIBLE GROUP) £65
Rabies (3 doses, given at 1, 7 and 21 days and then once every 5 years) £75
Tick Borne Encephalitis Adult (3 doses, given at 0,1 and 6 months) £75
Tick Borne Encephalitis Junior (3 doses, given at 0,1 and 6 months) £75
Typhoid (1 dose, every 3 years) FREE
Yellow Fever (1 dose in lifetime) £75
Malaria Prescription Fee £20
Yellow Fever Re-issue Certificate (Vaccination history required) £25
Childhood Immunisations – *Price per dose*
Chicken Pox (2 doses, given from 12 months of age, 6 weeks apart) £95
Meningitis B (2 doses or more depending on age, from 2 months – 8 weeks apart) £125

Non-NHS Services (No Charge)

  • Job Centre Plus ESA Reports
  • Get Active Referrals
  • Achieving for Children Reports
  • Debt Evidence forms
  • Health Assessment Advisory forms
  • Public Health England Immunisation Questionnaires
  • Housing Association/Application/Benefit forms
  • Council Tax Exemption form

Please note that the doctors cannot provide the following services:

  • Passport countersignature
  • Character Reference