"Shocked and very disappointed"

About: NHS Grampian

(as a parent/guardian),

My daughter is scheduled to take part in a sponsored event in September.

Now the problem. She has a slight issue which has never been formally diagnosed as Asthma, but requires her to occasionally use an inhaler. There is a standard form issued by the Club organising the event which needs a Doctor to sign to confirm that her condition is under control. She has approached Ellon Health Centre and has been told that she will need a full medical examination at a cost of £200!

On checking with other Medical Practices in the area, she was told that there is no requirement for a Medical and the cost would be in the region of £15. Unfortunately, there is insufficient time to change Medial Practice as it takes months to get the records transferred, so for now she seems to be stuck with Ellon Health Centre.

She has spoken to the Club official and he has again confirmed that no medical examination is required, just a confirmation that her condition is controlled, but EHC still stick to their unreasonable demand for £200 for an unnecessary medical examination.

Interestingly, the Club official commented that the full annual medical examinations required of him and his colleagues only costs £120.

My request to you is to seek your help in ‘encouraging’ Ellon Health Centre to provide what is required, a signature confirming that my daughter's condition is stable and at a more appropriate cost.

Interestingly, after a number of e-mails, she got a response from the practice reminding her that this was not a NHS service and it was up to an individual GP to decide what, if anything, would be done and at what cost. It seems that Ellon GPs think they can hold the public to ransom in these matters as only they have routine access to our medical records.

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Response from Linda Oldroyd, Nurse Consultant Patient Safety and Experience, NHS Grampian

Dear parent /guardian

This all sounds very complicated when really it should not be. I am one of only two people who currently have responding rights on Patient Opinion for NHS Grampian. My plan would be to contact the Practice Manager from your surgery to try to better understand what the difficulty is. I will make sure this person sees your post. I will come back on to the Patient Opinion webiste when I have more information for you. Hopefully we can get this situation fixed so that your daughter is able to participate in the sponsored event as planned.

Kind regards

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Response from Linda Oldroyd, Nurse Consultant Patient Safety and Experience, NHS Grampian

Dear parent/guardian

The Practice Manager for Ellon Health Centre has asked me to post the following response and has confirmed that the lead GP for complaints and feedback has approved it.

I am sorry you feel you have cause to write and complain about the private fees administered to your daughter. As you are not the patient we cannot comment on the medical history that you detail.

The patient contacted the health centre on Tuesday 16th June (even though she’d, had the form for over two months) looking for a GP to sign a doctor’s certificate of declaration of fitness. This required to be completed for a parachute jump planned for 25th June. As you will be aware GP Practices are under extreme pressure at the moment and have to prioritise medically compromised patients over private work.

The Practice in fact went out of its way to accommodate the patient in question and explained all the fees through numerous communications and managed to get her a triple appointment to conduct a Sports Medical, on Thursday 18th June. It is clearly advertised within the Practice that this would incur a £200 fee.

On the form from the British Parachute Association it states that this would be non NHS work and would incur a fee. Following a Practice meeting at which the fee was discussed the patient was contacted on Friday 19th June and informed that we would only charge £80 for the work carried out (private consultation fee of £60 + £20 administration fee).

Due to the heavy workload within the GP Practice and a reduction in staff due to maternity leave and the lack of locum availability to back fill it was also decided at the meeting on the 19th June that the Practice will no longer offer this private service and will concentrate on it’s NHS workload.

Practice Manager

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