How to…fill in forms

Be honest and trustworthy

You may see yourself as the patient’s advocate, but the advocacy has to be honest and true. You must take reasonable steps to verify any statement before you sign a document. This may involve looking at medical records. You must not write or sign documents that are false or misleading.

Omission is not an option

Omitting to mention any relevant information will result in a false or misleading document. Explaining this to patients at the outset will help avoid any misunderstanding.

Time management

If you have agreed to prepare a report, complete or sign a document or provide evidence, you must do so without unreasonable delay. Explain that you prioritise clinical administrative tasks above administrative and non-NHS tasks. Patients will accept that these forms do take time to be completed.

Non-NHS tasks

Explain that the practice, rather than you, charges fees for non- NHS tasks. If professional fees are charged, it is important that all reports are of a high quality and processed as quickly as possible. Some forms have to be completed without charge under a contract of employment or terms and conditions of service, or by statute.

Charges

Published guidance provides suggested fees for services that are provided by the patient’s own GP or other attending doctor. The UK Database in GP also draws attention to other areas where the BMA formerly provided suggested fees, but now makes no suggestion.

Check that you can charge

In order to determine the correct fee, check in the guidance that you are entitled to charge, consult the appropriate schedule, and agree the fee before undertaking the work.

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