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AIBU to think £32 for a doctor's letter is extortionate!

(85 Posts)
Pebble21uk Fri 22-Jun-18 12:22:59

My partner's 40th birthday yesterday and we were due to go away for the weekend. We've had to cancel as she has cellulitus. Phoned the doctors this morning to get a letter for our travel insurance company confirming this and was told the cost will be £32. Is it me or is that extortionate? I'm sure when I've needed letters in the past it's been no more than £20... are doctors now going in line with the cost of lawyer's letters! Who gets the money anyway - the doctor or the surgery?

MardalaRhyme Fri 22-Jun-18 12:27:48

Good. They absolutely should be in line with the cost of lawyers letters. It's paid to the surgery and it's a non NHS service so should not be funded by taxpayers.

Uncreative Fri 22-Jun-18 12:29:20

It is nowhere close to the cost of a lawyer’s letter.

It’s not an NHS service so it should be paid for. Seems reasonable to me.

happyinherts Fri 22-Jun-18 12:33:19

Try 40 quid for a doctor's stamp on the bottom of a form here. Not even a letter typed up.

And there was confusion about charges, resulting in receptionist consulting various people about it, creating a queue.

One of those things, can't go elsewhere. Have to suck it up and pay it.

lettuceWrap Fri 22-Jun-18 12:35:04

It’s not a core service, so you should be paying.
You wouldn’t get a lawyers letter that cheaply!

Laigny Fri 22-Jun-18 12:36:06

As you want the letter to ensure you get your holiday costs back then it absolutely should be charged, and at whatever rate the surgery sees fit. This is private work, not a medical/health concern treatable on the NHS. In order for the doctor to do this letter for you they cannot see a patient in an appointment slot and provide treatment, they have to go through your records and write up a letter therefore they are not getting paid anything for treating a patient - hence the charge to you. Youre lucky, the surgery i work in charges £60! It also weeds out those who would have you filling in forms constantly for all sorts of nonsense, if a patient is serious about needing something then they will pay the charge.

Rainbowtrees Fri 22-Jun-18 12:37:30

I think it’s a fair charge.

RailReplacementBusService Fri 22-Jun-18 12:38:02

Seems perfectly reasonable to me

Pebble21uk Fri 22-Jun-18 12:39:31

Sure - happy to pay - don't want it to come out of NHS funds - never said I did. My complaint it £32. A two line letter does not cost £32 to produce or £32 pounds worth of anybody's time. It's the price, not the principal I'm complaining about. Smacks purely of greed to me.

GetInMaBelleh Fri 22-Jun-18 12:42:52

What do you think a reasonable amount of money is then OP? And if you could kindly provide your reasoning and evidence behind it. You seem very up on what the NHS ought to charge for non essential services.

GladAllOver Fri 22-Jun-18 12:43:39

It's not the time to write two lines. It's the time to look at the case and make a professional judgement.
Cheap at the price.

Poloshot Fri 22-Jun-18 12:46:46

If it takes half hour to do for example it's £64 an hour. Not exactly unreasonable fee rate.

Glumglowworm Fri 22-Jun-18 12:46:54


it’s a private service, done by an overstretched and underfunded system. You can’t be so stupid as to think it’s literally just the time to write two sentences? The doctor needs to check the records and write an accurate letter. Easily taking longer than an average appointment.

£32 is very reasonable for something that enables you to claim back the cost of your holiday.

TheLionRoars1110 Fri 22-Jun-18 12:48:00

It's not the time to write the letter. It's the time for looking at the file, thinking about it and writing it.
£32 is not expensive for that. If you were seeing a private doctor it would be much more.

Amanduh Fri 22-Jun-18 12:49:46

Yeah, they’re so greedy, that’s what it is. hmm like other people have said, it’s not a two minute quick job.

Cornettoninja Fri 22-Jun-18 12:52:02

Well I could write you a letter for a bargain £5 but I’m not a doctor so....

Your paying for their opinion using their status as a professional. It’s not cheap to be a doctor (education, insurance) and that’s what they charge.

You could shop around Ike with any other service. I think pushdoctor do sick notes but you’ll have to pay for a consultation too so will probably find you’re getting a good deal from your own GP.

rookiemere Fri 22-Jun-18 12:56:31

You'll get it refunded on the insurance claim anyway won't you ?

MismatchedStripySocks Fri 22-Jun-18 12:56:36

They don’t charge at the hospital I work at. We just put a request with the notes, doctor dictates and it’s typed and sent.

ChangeIsHard Fri 22-Jun-18 12:57:19

you think after 12 or so years of specialist training a doctors time isn't worth £32 to do you a letter? you are asking them to drop what they are doing and produce a letter for you on short notice. I'm glad they charge.

Solicitors letter would cost closer to £50, again, they have years of training that backs up those figures.

TheViceOfReason Fri 22-Jun-18 12:58:43

Admin staff time to book the letter writing in, Dr time to pull up your details and review, type the letter up, update your file, send to the admin staff, admin staff to print, address and post to you.... £32 seems fair.

Olddear Fri 22-Jun-18 13:09:08

a two line letter does not cost £32 to produce well, it would seem it does.

KitKat1985 Fri 22-Jun-18 13:11:13

I know what you mean OP but the doctor you are paying will probably have been in training for at least 7 years (5 years undergraduate study, 2 years as a junior doctor) and many years of clinical experience. The doctor is also charging for the level of responsibility they are taking in basically providing the evidence to allow you to get your money back from your insurers.

TheFirstMrsDV Fri 22-Jun-18 13:13:19

£32 for a proportion of a highly trained, very busy professional's time doesn't seem extortionate for me.

Its a very specific amount so has clearly been worked out using some sort of formula.

That GP has to find the time to write that letter, it has to be printed and made available to you. That all takes time.

Its a pita to have to pay for stuff but life sucks sometimes.

PuddlesOfBud Fri 22-Jun-18 13:13:27

That is a lot for something that takes all of five minutes but they are stretched for time and money.

What makes me angry is that they charge victims of domestic violence for letters confirming the violence.

CVLB Fri 22-Jun-18 13:14:47

£32 sounds very fair. It isn't just a two line letter. It is time spent reviewing your case, dictating or typing your letter and ensuring correct phraseology so you don't get sued (!) and then admin staff to print, cost of paper, toner, envelopes, etc. As a professional myself, I get so annoyed when I am asked to provide additional services outside the scope of my usual fee and people moan about paying for it. I have professional subscriptions to pay, CPD to do, etc to retain my qualification. If you want to use my qualification to your benefit then expect to pay for my expertise!!

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