As practices are aware, that with a very limited list of exceptions, most medical reports are not contractual, and some contractors are choosing to reduce or stop this type of non-contractual work to focus on delivery of their NHS work; especially given the intensity of current workload pressures. Shortages of GPs who have the time to provide these reports appears to be why some courts have decided to issue a summons to certain GP contractors, demanding medical reports on behalf of bodies like probation and fostering services.
At the request of GPC Wales and GPC England, the BMA legal team has recently obtained KC opinion. Essentially, a court is ordering a GP contractor to produce a report forces them to undertake non-NHS work where they have no obligation to do so – potentially to the detriment of their NHS work. Courts do have this power, but it is clearly inappropriate given current NHS pressures and in the absence of a formally commissioned arrangement by HB/LAs. Unfortunately, it is not possible to ignore a court summons and GP contractors are advised not to refuse the summons.
It is important to note, however, medical reports of this nature are not contractual, there is no obligation on GPs to provide them and, as others have already said, the contract allows the contractor to “demand or accept (directly or indirectly) a fee or other remuneration” if they choose to provide one.
They have produced this guidance note https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/gp-practices/gp-service-provision/providing-court-reports