The Government's contract with GPs, (who are self-employed, not employed by the NHS), covers medical services to NHS patients. The NHS provides most health care to most people free.
For services not covered by the NHS, GPs charge a fee (in line with NHS guidelines), to cover staff costs etc., When a GP signs a certificate/completes a report, it is a condition of remaining on the Medical Register that we only sign what is known to be true; completing even the simplest of forms might require checking an entire medical record and is very time consuming - carelessness/inaccuracy can have serious consequences for the GP, with the General Medical Council or even the Police.
NHS services for which GPs can charge their NHS patients,
e.g. accident/sickness insurance certificates; certain travel vaccinations; private medical insurance reports
Non-NHS services for which GPs can charge other organisations
e.g. medical reports for insurance companies; some reports for the DSS/Benefits Agency if they have written directly to your GP; examinations of their employees requested by a Local Authority.
We need at least 10 working days to process letters and 21 working days for forms.
A huge amount of time is spent completing forms and preparing reports for patients, either direct, or for organisations on their behalf. Sometimes we are only approached because we 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. However, some services can be provided by other professionals or even non-professionals for free, for example when seeking lasting power of attorney. So please do try to seek other help than from SAMC.
Lasting power of attorney (LPA)
Anyone aged 18 or older who has the mental ability to make decisions for themselves can arrange for someone else to make these decisions for them in the future. This legal authority is called ‘power of attorney’.
The person giving LPA is the ’donor’. The person given LPA is known as the ‘attorney’ and must be over age 18 There are different types of LPA: (1) personal welfare LPA and (2) property and affairs LPA. Donors should understand exactly what powers they are giving to someone else.
- The GOV.UK website - https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/make-lasting-power explains what an LPA means for the ‘donor’ and the ‘attorney’.
- The NHS website also has further information http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/Pages/lasting-power-of-attorney.aspx
LPAs can be made online. Once an LPA is completed, it must be printed and signed (or ‘executed’) in the presence of a witness, who certifies that when the form was signed, the ‘donor’ granting the LPA:
- understood its purpose and the scope of authority being granted
- was not being unduly pressured or being defrauded
- was not affected by anything else that could affect the validity of the document
This certificate can be signed by either someone known to the ‘ donor’ for at least two years, or by someone who ‘because of their relevant professional skills and expertise, considers themselves able to provide the certificate’. This person must be acting independently, not be a relative, business partner or employee, or anyone involved in a care home where the ‘donor’ lives - it isn't necessary for your GP to sign as witness.
We can arrange a doctor's letter or signature on documents e.g. insurance claims form, there will be a charge.
If you need a support letter for housing or care needs ask The Benefits Agency, Dept. of Work & Pensions or Housing Association to write to your GP. This will be processed as non urgent/ non NHS work - there may be a charge.
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