Third of practices say income from private fees has fallen in past 12 months

Almost a third of GP practices have seen their income from private and professional fees fall in the past 12 months, according to a GPonline poll.

(Photo: iStock.com/sturti)
(Photo: iStock.com/sturti)

A total of 32% of 112 GP partners and practice managers responding to a poll by GPonline and its sister site Medeconomics said fees income had fallen in the past year. This compared with 14% who said income from private fees had risen.

Some 45% said that their income from private and professional fees had remained the same, while 9% said that they did not know.

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Many of the GPs and practice managers responding to the poll said that the reason fees had fallen was because of the change in rules around subject aceess requests that came into force with the GDPR in May. Under the new regulations practices can no longer charge patients or their representatives, which include solicitors, for copying and providing patient records.

They also pointed to less demand from insurance companies, some of which have simplified their report requests. Some GPs also said that they had stopped providing some non-NHS services because of rising workload.

A quarter of practices said that they planned to take steps in the coming year to increase the amount of income they earned from private and professional fees. This included increasing fees for the work they do, taking on more work for which they could charge fees and implementing a more consistent approach to charging.

GDPR

Laurence Slavin, a partner at specialist medical accountants Ramsay Brown and Partners, said that in general income from private fees appeared to be relatively stable among his clients, but he did expect to see a fall in the future as a result of the introduction of the GDPR.

The GPC has said it will be pushing for additional funding in contract negotiations to cover the costs practices are incurring because of the GDPR.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline: 'We know from our own members that they are concerned about the increase in SARs since the GDPR legislation came in, and the knock-on effect on both workload and practice finances.

'The BMA has produced guidance for GPs and their teams on this issue and will be pushing for additional funding to help cover the cost of any increase in negotiations.'

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