Shock at badge report charge

The NHS has come in for criticism after a Northumberland resident had to pay an extra £46 for renewing her permit to park in disabled spaces.

Louise Liddiatt, who lives in Linton, paid £2 when she first got her Blue Badge two years ago.

But not only has the administration fee gone up from £2 to £10, a doctor is required to write a report about the applicant and she was charged £38 for this by her GP at Widdrington Surgery.

Coun Liddiatt, a member of Ellington and Linton Parish Council, said: “The first application involved filling in a short form and sending it off with a photograph to the county council and the Blue Badge arrived about two weeks later.

“But this time, the form was 20 pages long, the administration fee had increased to £10 and you were responsible for getting the application report from your GP.

“I was flabbergasted when I found out that I had been charged £38 for the report. I feel that this is an outrageous fee, which yet again penalises the disadvantaged and elderly in our community.”

She has written to her local MP, Sir Alan Beith. He said he has been regularly contacted by constituents who are upset about GPs charging for Blue Badge reports and he has written to NHS England about the matter.

He added: “In many cases, Blue Badge applications do not require medical evidence, such as for people who are terminally ill, in receipt of disability benefits or war pensions, but for those applicants who need to get a letter, the charge of getting medical evidence should not be unreasonable.”

Christine Keen, director of commissioning (Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear) at NHS England, said: “If a patient requires the services of a GP, but does not need clinical treatment or advice, this falls outside of the NHS contract.

“Non-NHS work can attract a fee, which is down to the individual GP practice. The British Medical Association has guidance, but there is no fixed rate for this type of work.”