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GP leaders to push Government for 4% professional fee increase

Exclusive The BMA’s professional fees committee will be negotiating with Government to allow doctors to increase their fees for non-NHS work, Pulse can reveal.

Committee chair Dr Peter Holden, a GP in Derbyshire, said he is looking to achieve a 4% increase in a bid to make the fees more ‘fair’ to GPs.

Dr Holden told Pulse this comes as some fees have not changed for almost 30 years, and do not reflect the GP workload.

He said: 'Fees increased ahead of inflation between 1996 and 2005, but they have since dropped and several have not been increased for two or three years.

'Some fees can’t be altered at all as they are in primary legislation, such as fees for road traffic accidents, which have not changed since 1988.'

The maximum fee for making copies of health records is currently set at £50, while the fee for obtaining an extract from records is £46.50 but Dr Holden said these levels were 'simply unfair'.

He said: 'Doctors have to trawl through, remove third party harmful information, remove any information that could be clinically harmful.

'To process any report involves over 20 different steps. Many records are still manual and making copies of old paper records written in fountain pen is a pain staking task.

'Nobody is listening, and GPs are being left holding the baby.'

Dr Holden said he wants to re-frame the attitude to fees to account for inflation, allowing doctors to charge an economically viable rate.

He said: 'We have to start making sure that we are paid appropriately for the work we do. [In a supermarket], if people can’t afford it, they can take some things out of the basket or get some more money, but you can’t argue with the checkout girl.'

He added: 'Doctors are not fools. We can work out the change in our expenses ratio and use the Retail Price Index data that the Government publishes… to work out what the new fees should be.'

Under the Competition Act of 1998, the BMA is only permitted to recommend or suggest fees in conditions where only a patient's own practice or GP could carry out the service.

GPs cannot charge their own patients for any non-NHS treatments that they receive but LMC leaders voted last week for the GPC to push for the Government to allow this to take place.

Readers' comments (9)

  • Cobblers

    Access to Health Record £50 from IIRC 1998?

    4% is seriously seriously out of kilter to compensate for 19 years of no rises.

    Take a leaf out of the Government's book. Treble the damn fee and get beaten back to double and the government thinks it has a bargain.

    4%, BMA wake up please. You are out of touch.

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  • 4% per year, then we are talking.

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  • i suggest we increase fees in line with CQC fee hikes.I only thought about this yesterday when completing a report for ATOS at the 33.50 which has remained unchanged for as long as i can remember .

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  • And how much has BMA increased it's subscription fees in the last 10 years. Have some shame and bring the increase in line with subscription rate increase in last 10 years!

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  • Cobblers

    JL, I stopped doing those years ago. Not part of contract. Pay peanuts etc.

    If you and others stop doing them it will reduce your workload and not affect your finances.

    And the Government will have to think again.

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  • The fee for completion of a DS 1500 when I joined general Practice in 1988, was £17.
    The form is now a little more involved than it was in 1988.
    The fee remains.... £17.

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  • With the size of some patient records now, it can often cost the practice money to provide full copies. I am pretty sure that the solicitors who request copies of records charge more for the single page proforma request than we can charge for using 2 reams of paper to produce copy of records. This is wrong. We should be able to charge for the time taken by admin staff to produce the copy, and also the time taken by the GP to check the records and remove third party information, (most of this is done after hours too) plus paper costs, photocopier costs and postage. This fee was completely inadequate nearly 2 decades ago when I resigned from the BMA in protest about their lack of action on this matter........it was £50.00 then and has not changed since, despite the fact that notes now are considerably more lengthy. I still cannot believe that the BMA allow this to remain unchanged.

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  • I wonder how many members still think it's worth it paying subscriptions. Is it an ego problem that keeps people wanting to be members of something or the other, a mob tendency or is just irrational but plain flocking human nature which makes most of us wanting to have a warm feeling of safety in the arms of blood suckers exploiting human weakness. Surely, if an organisation shies from supporting members, has incompetent advisers and can just offer lip service, what's the use of paying them?

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  • Anonymous Locum GP

    don't panic - it's the BMA we are talking about - nothing will come of it - reassuringly there will be no change in the status quo.

    there will be a lot of talking and maybe a report or two but guranteed nothing substantial will be achieved. why? well they have been doing it for the last 20 years so why change now?

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