Get a document signed by your GP
You can ask your GP to complete and sign some documents for you. This will prove that they are true and accurate.
- private sick notes
- accident or sickness certificates, for insurance
- school fee and holiday insurance certificates
- reports for health clubs to certify that patients are fit to exercise
- fitness to travel certificates
- private prescriptions
- life assurance and income protection reports, for insurance companies
- reports to do with Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance, for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
- medical reports about adoption and fostering, for local authorities
You may have to pay for some of these, as not all of them are covered by the NHS.
What you pay
Your GP should tell you in advance if you need to pay, and how much.
It's up to each GP to decide how much they charge. Many GPs use the British Medical Association's suggested fees.
How it works
Please write down what you need, including:
- what forms or documents you need completing
- why you need them
- who they are addressed to
You can then:
- send this to us as an email
- hand it in at reception
- send it to us in the post
Include the documents that you want completing.
What happens next
We will review your request. We may ask you to book an appointment to talk in more detail, or we may be able to complete your request without doing that.
Please note that your GP will fill out any forms or letters in their own words. You cannot tell them what wording to include.
How long it takes
It can sometimes take weeks to complete your request. Please book well in advance if you need to.
Why it takes time
A GP can only sign a certificate or report if they are sure it's true. If they do not make sure, they can be taken off the Medical Register which means they cannot be a doctor in the UK.
So in order to complete even a simple form, the GP might have to check your entire medical record.
A report that is wrong can have serious consequences with the General Medical Council, which is the doctors’ regulatory body. The GP may even get in trouble with the police.
How to speed up the process
Not all documents need a signature by a GP, for example passport applications. You can ask another person in a position of trust to sign such documents free of charge.
There is some medical examination and report work that can be done by any doctor, not only your GP.
If you have several forms, ask your GP if they can complete them all at the same time.
Urgent requests may mean that a GP has to make special arrangements to process the form quickly. This will cost more.
Value Added Tax (VAT)
If a service is there to "protect, restore or maintain" your health, you do not have to pay VAT. This is the same whether it's NHS or private sector.
If the service is not there mainly to treat your health, you need to pay VAT. For example, if your GP completes medical insurance reports for you.
This is according to a European Court of Justice Ruling in 2003. It applies where a medical practitioner’s income exceeds the VAT registration threshold.
Why GPs sometimes charge fees
The NHS provides most health care to most people free of charge.
However, prescription charges have existed since 1951, and there are other services you have to pay for.
You may have to pay to cover some of the cost of treatment. For example, with dental fees.
You also have to pay for services that are not covered by the NHS. For example:
- providing copies of health records
- producing medical reports for insurance companies
Many GPs are not employed by the NHS - they are self-employed and they have to cover their costs. For example:
The NHS covers these costs for NHS work, but for non-NHS work. The fees charged by GPs contribute towards their costs.
Do GPs have to do non-NHS work?
GPs do not usually have to do non-NHS work if they do not have time. However, they will always try to help with things like filling out forms for insurance purposes.
There are some things that GPs do have to do, for example your GP has to confirm if you're fit for jury service.
Completion of cremation forms
A deceased person cannot be cremated until the cause of death is definitely known and properly recorded. Before cremation can take place two certificates need to be signed, one by the GP and one by another doctor.
Cremation form 4 must be completed by the ’registered medical practitioner who attended the deceased during their last illness’. Form 5 must be completed by a ’registered medical practitioner who is neither a partner nor a relative of the doctor who completed form 4’.
A fee can be charged for the completion of both forms 4 and 5 as this does not form part of a doctor’s NHS duties. Doctors normally charge these fees to the funeral director, who, generally passes on the cost to the family. Doctors are also entitled to charge a mileage allowance, where appropriate.
Check with the surgery to find out the fees for cremation forms 4 and 5.