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Why GPs should be able to charge for non-NHS treatments

This LMC conference motion is about allowing patients to get the non-NHS services they want to receive from the GP they know, at a surgery near to their home.

Currently GPs are not allowed to offer non-NHS treatments to their registered patients apart from a small list, which includes items such as travel vaccinations. I have to tell my patients to go and see another GP, who they are not registered with, who can charge them for non-NHS services.

For example, gay men are at higher risk of contracting HPV, but the HPV vaccine is not available to them on the NHS so if they request it from their own GP he or she cannot provide it to them. 

Similarly, the shingles vaccine is only provided to people who are exactly 70 or 79 years old by the NHS, at any other point in life they will have to pay for it from a doctor who is not their registered GP.

This adds to the pressure on short-handed GP surgeries as one patient ends up requiring multiple appointments and a new set of medical notes taking for a vaccine which is usually medically advisable.

Dr Ben Molyneux is a sessional GP and vice chair, City and Hackney LMC who proposed the motion passed at the LMCs Conference on Thursday





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