Debt support form fees to be scrapped for those suffering from mental health problems
21 February 2019, 15:53 | Updated: 21 February 2019, 15:58
Those experiencing mental health issues and are being pursued by debt collectors will no longer have to pay for forms from their GP.
As of April 2019 patients will no longer have to fork out for forms from their doctors if experiencing mental health and debt problems.
After a large amount of campaigning by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) the fees have now been scrapped for the next five years at least.
Currently GP's can charge for completing forms which many need to submit to creditors as evidence that they are struggling to pay as it isn't classed as NHS work.
The MMHPI campaign found that a third of people were charged between £30-£50 for these type of forms by their GP.
As those who rely on them for evidence to debt collectors or for benefits appeals are usually low income and these fees can cause money problems to snowball.
Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert made a statement after the British Medical Association cracked down on the charges.
He said: “We’re over the moon that the BMA has finally agreed to stop people with mental health and debt problems being charged for the paperwork they need to get help,”
These charges can play havoc with people’s financial and mental wellbeing, often when they are at their lowest ebb – leaving many avoiding asking for the help they desperately need.”
Those seeking evidence of mental health problems from their GPs should now be able to self-certificate from their medical records which will be made available to access online from April.
Where anything more complex is needed from a GP Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA's GP committee said the bank or lender should pay the fee.