The NHS provides health care free of charge, but there are exceptions.
It is important to understand that GPs are self-employed and offer their services to the NHS and they have to cover their costs eg. staff, buildings, heating, lighting, etc. The NHS covers these costs for NHS work, but for non-NHS work.
The British Medical Association (BMA) suggests fees for non-NHS work which is not covered under a GP’s NHS contract. However, these fees are guidelines only, not recommendations, and a doctor is not obliged to charge the rates suggested.
Why can it take a long time to complete a 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 NHS workload and this paperwork is done in around the patient care.
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.