A friend of mine has just been billed for the services of a consultant, she had run out of her BUPA, she had not seen the consultant only a specialist nuirse.
the advice she was given was offered in a tiny cluttered office where all that was discussed was how to sit on a toilet! She had three visits. A letter arrived from his billing department saying the money must be paid within ten days.... Initially she signed a form that she would be responsible for the payment of any bill, she did so because she honestly believed that she would be seen by a consultant, a specialist in the field of medicine that she had problems with...
No correct diagnosis was made....she has received a bill for £500. plus for the use of hospital ' facilities' plus £280.00 for his services! ( despite never having set eyes on him ) His response to a letter of complaint was that he supervised his staff....and department.
Is there any organisation that could approach with this problem? some official medical body? Is it right that you can have a bill for the services of a consultant when you don't even see him?
She was correctly diagnosed by another consultant and had surgery to rectify the problem and after several months off work is now fine.
Edited 2 times. Last edit at 19 May 2005 10.02am by Jan the old one.
Have you tried contacting the General Medical Council? (http://www.gmc-uk.org) They are the authority to whom all doctors registered in the UK must answer.
Section 53 of their Good Medical Practice, states:
53. You must be honest and open in any financial arrangements with patients. In particular:
you should provide information about fees and charges before obtaining patients' consent to treatment, wherever possible;
you must not exploit patients' vulnerability or lack of medical knowledge when making charges for treatment or services;
you must not encourage your patients to give, lend or bequeath money or gifts which will directly or indirectly benefit you. You must not put pressure on patients or their families to make donations to other people or organisations;
you must not put pressure on patients to accept private treatment;
if you charge fees, you must tell patients if any part of the fee goes to another doctor.
Jan, it might be worth her giving the local PALS service for her a call - they tend to deal with NHS issues in hospitals and/or for Primary Care Trusts, but they might be able to point her in the direction of some other advice - what a disgrace her story is. Having been messed about over the last 18 month by various wonderful members of the medical profession I can deeply sympathise. Hope it goes well for her.
Thank you Claire T., I have passed on your message to my friend and of course your good wishes. I could bore you silly with medical profession stories....not all bad! but the ones that are .. are libellous (?) sorry brains gorn, cant spell it!
If I ever make a social, we can huddle in the corner and compare scars!