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Private fees

Q: How should we negotiate fees levels for the many private forms, certificates and reports where there are no BMA suggested or agreed rates? The practice manager says setting a rate can be tricky - especially with fees for services that are only requested occasionally and he is reduced to plucking a figure out of the air.

A: Where there is no contractual or regulatory requirement to carry out a service, simply state a professional fee and insist on payment in advance. There is no need to negotiate.

To set your fee rates for such services, try calculating an hourly rate based on your annual drawings divided by the number of hours you work each week. For example, if your annual drawings are £80,000 and weekly hours worked are 45, £80,000 divided by 52 weeks and then by 45 hours equals £34 per hour.

Add an additional hourly rate of £25 to £35 with a minimum charge of £10 for staff costs, administration, use of premises and so on. If your rate per hour, including expenses, seems low, it is open to you to increase it. You may wish to reduce it for patients in difficult financial circumstances.

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