The government’s contract with GPs covers general medical services to NHS patients. However, in recent years more and more organisations have been involving doctors 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.
We charge fees for non NHS work as the time spent completing the letters or reports is in addition to their full time NHS work of looking after their patients at St James (a list of 13,500 patients).
It takes 10 years to train to become a GP and when a GP signs a certificate, completes a report, or signs a letter, it is a condition of remaining on the General Medical Council (GMC) register (which allows them to practice as a doctor), that they only sign what they know to be true.
In order to complete even the simplest of forms or write a short letter, the doctor may have to check a patient’s entire medical records.