GPs charging for referral letters

(50 Posts)
NearTheWindmill Tue 18-Feb-14 21:21:22

I'm not sure if I'm being unreasonable but this irks. DD has a problem with an ingrowing toe-nail (quite nasty) and the chiropodist has recommended a general surgeon who is good with kids. We have health insurance. GP happily agreed to refer and has advised there will be a £30 charge for the referral letter.

As far as I am aware the waiting list for this minor procedure on the NHS is pretty long but if dd had to have this done on the NHS the dr would have to write a referral anyway.

It just seems a bit cheeky - and cheekier still that the receptionist told me I can phone tomorrow to see if it's ready. I'd have thought that if I'm being charged, they should be phoning me.

OneUp Tue 18-Feb-14 21:25:17

I don't think it's particularly cheeky. You are basically asking the GP to do you a favour, in a similar way to signing passport documents ect so it seems only fair that they charge a fee.

I can see that it would be annoying though as it's not your fault the waiting list is so long.

So YANB completely U.

That's outrageous. How can he justify charging for it when it means saving the NHS money?

Our GP does not charge for private referrals.

NearTheWindmill Tue 18-Feb-14 21:27:27

But I don't need the GP to sign passport forms - I do need the GP to write the referral otherwise my insurance claim wouldn't be valid. I don't have a choice in the matter and if I didn't have health insurance then neither would the GP who agrees something needs to be done about this surgically.

slowcomputer Tue 18-Feb-14 21:27:30

Charging for a referral letter is unusual, but strictly speaking it isn't an NHS service.GP funding is being stripped to the bone by the government, blame them.

MooMaid Tue 18-Feb-14 21:28:16

My GP told me I was going to be charged but I never was and the receptionist seemed quite bemused.

I also have private medical insurance and have not once paid for a referral letter but I believe they can if they want to, which personally I think is a cheek because I'm freeing up NHS resources elsewhere by going private.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with the NHS and would be happy to go NHS but my GP actively encourage you to go private if you can.... probably to free up resources so why the hell pay £30 for a letter!!

Marylou2 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:28:19

This is standard practice at my GP and many others. Mine charges £60.

Weegiemum Tue 18-Feb-14 21:31:02

Charging for a private referral is standard. Why should a GP refer to the private system for free? Perfectly good nhs system available (at least where I live).

Disclaimer: I'm married to a GP who charges. Not for passports or anything else, but always for the private referrals.

Theas18 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:31:21

If its a private referral it isn't part of a GPs NHS "day job" to refer you.

I know it feels odd but GPs are actually only "paid" for NHS services they provide.THey are not employed directly by the NHS. You are asking the GP to do this in their un paid time.

What would you do unpaid? What would a solicitor do un paid ? (nothing!).

It's not saving the GP personally any money that you of privately- yes it might mean the practice notional budget spend is less but that's all.

falulahthecat Tue 18-Feb-14 21:31:33

Whhhaaat?!
I've never heard of this?
Could it be because you're going private? Maybe it's meant to be added to your claim bill?

mousmous Tue 18-Feb-14 21:32:30

it's for a private referral, so that's ok imo.
check if your insurance reimburses, some do.

Sirzy Tue 18-Feb-14 21:32:38

Your wanting the GP to provide something out of the NHS - you are choosing not to use the NHS - so it seems fair enough you pay for it

Ziggyzoom Tue 18-Feb-14 21:32:55

If they charge, will the insurance company pick up the tab?

falulahthecat Tue 18-Feb-14 21:33:12

You generally can't get something on private insurance unless the wait is longer than 8 weeks - at least on ours.
I've never had a GP charge me (directly?) for 3 referrals to a private service.

My GP charges for private referrals. Like you I find it odd, surely going private is reducing the demand on the NHS, and if I were to be treated on the nhs the GP would need to write the same letter.

NearTheWindmill Tue 18-Feb-14 21:35:05

You can't claim it. It isn't the money I object to. I think what irked most was the receptionist telling me I could do the running around to see if it had been done. If I'm charged I think it's reasonable to expect them to contact me. What would your dh think about that weegie.

Also, if we didn't have health cover then a referral would have to be written anyway so I don't see how it takes up more of their time. I am getting less of the NHS resources. It isn't the money I mind, just the principle. And if I'm being charged a private fee, I expect a private service re being advised when the letter's ready.

NearTheWindmill Tue 18-Feb-14 21:36:39

My DH does loads of passports and has never charged for them.

Hotmad Tue 18-Feb-14 21:38:22

That's ridiculous to charge for a private referral, you are actually doing them a favour by not going down the nhs route in which your gp would be charged for! I would point that out to them, speak to the manager if you don't want to question the gp.

Yes, but if the GP refers you to A&E or a NHS consultant then there is a charge made to their practice budget, as are the costs of any prescriptions, are they not. So surely, you are actually saving his budget.....

I agree with charging for passports and travel vaccinations but charging for referral letters is ridiculous. All things like this will do is push more people into using private GPs.

RevoltingPeasant Tue 18-Feb-14 21:39:37

Weegiemum but if the GP will be writing the letter anyhow - as the child needs to be seen, the OP says - why should it make any odds to him whether he writes it to Mr X at his local NHS address, or (ever likely) the same consultant at ShinyPrivateHospital?

Also, I am 100% behind the NHS as an idea but it is silly to say there is a perfectly good system available!

I waited 18mos for a kidney op when I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. My DH waited 5 years before the GP would refer him to an andrologist for his ED and painful chronic prostate problems. My close friend's 9mo baby had eczema so badly that she tore her skin off every night and it took them nearly 6mos to get to see a specialist.

If you were in a situation like that, can't you see how you might go private out of desperation??

Ziggyzoom Tue 18-Feb-14 21:40:36

If I had to pay £60 for the letter in addition to the insurance excess, I would be tempted to ask for a free NHS referral and see how long the timescales were once the appointment came through. Children are generally seen quite quickly and if the consultant indicated otherwise I would ask them at that point to treat her privately.

Nocomet Tue 18-Feb-14 21:41:19

I certainly wasn't charged

HarrietSchulenberg Tue 18-Feb-14 21:41:49

So basically you want your GP to spend his NHS paid time writing you a referral letter for private treatment? How is that saving the NHS money?

IamInvisible Tue 18-Feb-14 21:42:09

We had to pay for a letter that DS1 needed for his Army application. We, also, had to do the phoning to see if it was ready. it took bloody ages. It didn't occur to us to get our knickers in a twist!

Musicaltheatremum Tue 18-Feb-14 21:42:35

I don't charge for private referrals but I do charge if I then have to fill in a form for the insurance company so the patient can get their treatment. All these reports we do in our own time as there is no time at all during the day to do them but a referral is different.

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