Most of the services provided by the Practice are funded by our contract to provide services with NHS Highland. This means they are provided free at the point of delivery, as was the intention of Aneurin Bevin in 1948 when he devised the National Health Service. Our appointment system is designed to be fair to all patients so that our services:
- meet the needs of everyone
- are free at the point of delivery
- are based on clinical need, not ability to pay
Note that the above principles are based on clinical need. Sometimes this may not entirely coincide with what the patient wants. In such cases we try to explain what services we are able to provide.
Some services are not covered by our NHS funding and in order to cover our costs (clinicians, other staff, buildings, medical consumables etc.) we may charge patients for them. We try to make it clear which services may incur a charge in advance. Sometimes the amount of the charge may not be clear until the appointment has ended because the cost is linked to the time taken.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has some useful information on their website about the reasons why GPs charge for some services:
Some paid for services are not required to be provided by your own GP and so patients are free to "shop around" for other providers. Again the BMA provides a list of such services:
Police reports for firearm and shotgun licenses
A new system was introduced in April 2016 for the processing of applications for new and renewal of existing firearm and shotgun licenses. There has been much discussion at a national level about the way the new system has been implemented. GP practices are not required to provide this service under our NHS contract, but the proper regulation of firearms is in the public interest.
We recognise that given our remote and rural practice area we have a disproportionately large number of patients who need to engage with the Police for their firearm or shotgun license. Our involvement in the new system is as follows:
- The Police ask the applicant to provide general medical information. This includes asking if the GP has any "concerns" regarding the issuing of the license. This requires the GP to study the whole medical record and come to a decision which has serious legal and ethical implications. Many GP practices make a charge for this initial report and opinion. We have decided NOT to make any charge for this first report.
- If any "concerns" are identified, the Police may ask the GP for an additional report which asks a series of specific questions about the medical history prompting the concerns and further clinical opinion about any ongoing medical conditions. We may make a charge to provide this second report. The charge will need to be paid by the patient before the report is sent to the Police.