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Advertising watchdog assessing Push Doctor ads following GP complaints

Doctors in the trade union Unite have complained to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) about Push Doctor advertisements displayed on the London Underground.

The ASA said it was assessing the adverts after ‘a number’ of complaints about the private online GP provider, whose adverts claim customers are able to ‘access NHS GPs whenever you want’.

GPs said Push Doctor was ‘misleading’ the public by not being explicit about the fact they charge £20 per consultation.

Dr Jackie Abbleby, Tower Hamlets LMC lead and deputy chair of Doctors in Unite said: ‘We are disturbed to see posters on the London Underground advertising Push Doctor claiming to be the “UKs most popular on line doctor service” and that “you can access an NHS GP whenever you want”.

’These doctors may well work some of the time in the NHS but this service is private. It is not apparent from the advert, but when one tries to book an appointment one is informed that a ten minute appointment costs £20.’

Doctors in Unite said that private services like Push Doctor were flourishing only because of the crisis in general practice, which it said had been brought about by ‘deliberate underfunding’.

The ASA said it had received ‘a number’ of complaints [about the Push Doctors advertisement] on the grounds that it was ‘harmful’ and ‘misleading’.

‘We are currently carefully assessing these complaints to establish whether there are grounds for further action (no investigation has been launched as yet), and a decision on next steps will be made soon,’ a spokesperson said.

Push Doctor has previously been accused of ‘taking advantage of the access problems’ in general practice

Meanwhile, a CQC inspection report earlier this year said Push Doctor was ’not providing safe, effective, or well-led services’. It said Push Doctor needed to make improvements to services including recording systems and training of staff.

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