GPs charging cash-strapped students 20 quid for mitigating circumstances letters

Manchester doctors are charging ridiculous fees so you can prove to uni that you’re actually ill

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Manchester students are having to cough-up up to twenty quid for a short note from their GP to prove they’ve actually been ill.

The Tab's resident artist recreates the scene

The Tab’s resident artist recreates the scene

It’s bad news if you’re struggling to make a uni deadline due to illness – greedy Manchester surgeries are asking students for as much as £20 to provide a mitigating circumstances evidence letter.

The note from your GP serves as evidence for your illness and is very often required for mitigating circumstances to be granted.

And it’s happening right under our noses. One of the worst offenders is The Robert Darbishire Practice, a popular practice just off Curry Mile, which is recommended to students by the University of Manchester’s website. Their flat fee is a whopping £20 – or to put it another way, 1/10 of the cost of a Unirider.

Surrey lodge, a surgery just a stone’s throw from the uni hospital, charged a still greedy £15. When questioned by The Tab, the doctor even admitted she wouldn’t be the one doing the laborious task of typing up a page of notes – she would instead dictate it to a receptionist.

Proof of prescriptions is always enough

Proof of prescriptions aren’t always enough

And it seems like these doctors are specifically targeting students. Becky, who studies Pharmacology and commutes from not-so-studenty Sale, was only charged £5 for her letter.

There are a few instances where you might get lucky and not have to pay up – you can apply for mitigating circumstances without these letters in some cases. If you can provide proof of the prescriptions you take, this can help your case. Sometimes even these boxes with your name and type of medication clearly printed on top aren’t enough, though.

Emily, a first year Linguistics student, who was seriously ill when applying, was rejected because she didn’t have a letter from her GP. She called it “annoying,” and said she felt “let down” by her doctors. When she did eventually get a letter from them, it was “only three lines long.”

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20 quid for something along these lines?

There is a small light at the end of the tunnel, though. The Tab has hunted down a couple of places where these illusive letters can be found for nothing. One is the uni counselling service, though this will obviously only work for certain issues, and not something like a broken arm. The City Health Centre, based in Boots, will also let its patients get a letter totally free of charge.