The government’s contract with GPs covers medical services to NHS patients. However more and more organisations have been involving GPs in a wide range of non-NHS work. This work is not funded by the government, so GPs have to charge a fee to cover their time and other expenses.
It is important to understand that most 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 towards keeping the surgery running.
With certain limited exceptions GPs do not have to carry out non-NHS work on behalf of their patients. Whilst GPs will always attempt to assist their patients with the completion of forms, for example for insurance purposes, they are not required to do such non-NHS work.
Time spent completing forms and preparing reports takes the GP away from the medical care of his or her patients
which will always have top priority. GPs have a very heavy workload and paperwork takes up an increasing amount of their time which must be prioritised again offering appointment s and other urgent administration eg prescriptions and test results. We aim to complete non-NHS work within 3 weeks of receipt but on occasion this can take longer.
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 even the Police.
• Not all documents need a 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.
• Do not expect your GP to process forms overnight. Urgent requests may mean that a doctor has to make special arrangements to process the form quickly, and this will cost more.
If you have a form that you wish the doctor to complete please give it in the reception who will pass it too the Medical Reports Administrator. They will then contact you about costs and payment. If you need to be seen by the doctor for an examination in order to complete the form they will arrange this as well.