The surgery is experiencing a massive increase in requests for letters to support a variety of situations our patients encounter.
The letters requested are not funded by the NHS and therefore represent a private service for which patients are charged. However, the letters still require GP time to complete. Our GP day at Merrow Park Surgery is typically 12 or more hours currently.
GPs have also experienced a massive increase in our indemnity fees over the past few years (insurance cover so that we can practice), often quotes for cover are in excess of £10,000 annually for a full time GP.
Indemnity companies have clearly indicated that they will not provide cover for GPs who provide letters for patients, particularly when the GP lacks the specific training, qualifications, expertise or information to be giving certification for specific situations, most commonly for fitness to take part in sporting events and work.
Here at Merrow Park Surgery we will consider individual requests for letters at a specified private charge, but please be aware of the following:
- Writing these letters invariably means reducing time allowed to perform our “core work” (seeing patients at home and surgery, dealing with queries, results, letters). Each GP at the surgery is already working at full capacity. We would ask that patients think very carefully about making a request for these letters.
- In order to focus on our core NHS work we have decided that we will not provide “fit to” letters. We are happy to provide medical summaries at a small charge that can be offered to interested parties. We are not insured to certify patients as fit to participate in sports activities or to comment on fitness for their specific occupation outside the GP Med3 fit note. This also includes fitness to fly as this is at the discretion of the individual airline. A list of local GP services who may be able to do this for you is listed below.
- Any letter is at the discretion of the GP and urgent requests will incur a larger fee. We reserve the right to decline to provide a private letter.
- We have links on our website to standard responses to employers incorrectly requesting letters to certify illness before the legal requirement of 7 days.
- It is unusual that a GP letter be required for a school aged child (this includes instances of being unwell and missing exams). Schools have a responsibility to work directly with parents when the child has an acute medical issue without the need for supporting letters, but individual requests will be considered. In the instance of long term conditions, a specialist will usually provide an on-going care plan.
If we are unable to provide a certificate or report for you, for example to take part in a sporting activity, then there are a number of local services you can contact who may be able to provide an examination and completion of the relevant form for you. Like us, they would make a charge for this private service which you can discuss directly with them:
- Surrey GP Service
Parallel House, 32 London Road, Guildford GU1 2AB
- The Mews Practice
Elmdon House, 116 London Road, Guildford, GU1 1TN
- The Guildford Private General Practice
Mount Alvernia Hospital, Harvey Road, Guildford, GU1 3LX
Also see: Practice Information – non-NHS work
For further information: www.ganfyd.org