Patients: Social Security Benefits

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 14th November 2018.

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Photo of Sandy Martin Sandy Martin Shadow Minister (Waste and Recycling)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has provided to Clinical Commissioning Groups on charging for letters which patients require in order to progress benefits claims.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Under the terms of their contracts, as set out in National Health Service (General Medical Services (GMS) Contracts) and (Personal Medical Services (PMS) Agreements) Regulations 2015), general practitioners (GPs) must provide medical certificates to prove incapacity to work free of charge and cannot charge their registered patients for anything other than specific items as set out in the PMS Regulations. This includes some letters and medical reports, such as private sick notes or immunisations in connection with travel abroad.

GPs must provide these statements of incapacity to professionals working for the Health Assessment Advisory Service (part of the Department for Work and Pensions) when requested. If other statutory bodies are requesting this information to support a benefits claim, GPs are entitled to charge for this information, but the body requesting it must pay this charge rather than the patient.

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