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GPs go forth

First 36 GP practices sign deals with 'Uber-style' private GP company

Doctaly, the start-up company pairing NHS GP practices with private fee-paying patients, has signed deals with 36 UK GP practices.

This includes 35 practices in England, as well as latest sign-up Lockthorn Medical Centre based in Dumfries, Scotland.

The service is the first online platform in the UK that supports NHS GPs to see private patients.

VIa the app, GPs offer 15-minute consultations which cost £39.99 to £69.99 depending on the time and day of the week

Earlier this year Doctaly, which has described its service as 'Uber-style' after the taxi-hailing app, secured funding from 1,185 large and small investors via crowd-funding. 

GPs were being enticed to join Doctaly with added benefits when they invested in the campaign, and the company has said it is looking to recruit ‘as many doctors as possible’ from across the UK.

Patients already registered with the NHS practices are not eligible to use the Doctaly service and the private appointments are fitted around the contracted NHS hours.

Dr Manzoor Malik, GP Partner at Lochthorn Medical Centre, said the new model offered a ‘high-quality, user-friendly service for patients who are finding it difficult or inconvenient to access their GP’.

He said patients may want to use the service if they work near his surgery or who are visiting the area or if they want to see a GP urgently and cannot get an appointment with their usual GP.

Doctaly announced their intention to roll out nationally after a pilot in London.

Ben Teichman, who founded the service along with friend Dr Dinesh Silva who is a GP partner at a London practice, says that ‘every Doctaly patient is one less person in the NHS queue’.

‘We are very pleased to be offering Doctaly appointments at the Lochthorn Medical Centre for people who find this practice accessible and convenient,’ he added.

But GP leaders have previously raised concerns that the service could lead to fragmentation of NHS services.

Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of BMA Scotland’s GP committee said: ‘Patients who are considering private appointments will need to satisfy themselves that it will meet their needs, particularly as the appointment will be with a doctor they do not know and who will not have access to their NHS medical record.

‘The pressures facing many GP practices are what lead some patients to consider such services, but most would far rather see publicly funded general practice returned to a sustainable footing.’

He added: ‘The new GP contract in Scotland and the significant investment that is attached to it will help to deliver this and in time improve the care that practices are able to offer to patients.’




Readers' comments (19)

  • Lets see how this pans out, if it works well it could hopefully see GPs go the way of the dentist.

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  • I only wish I could believe the assertion that every pt using a doctaly consult is one less in the nhs queue- demand always seem to rise to fill up supply so i don't think it will help gp appointment demand in that respect. Not a reflection on the scheme itself though-watching this space!

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  • The GP contract is a massive scam, perpetrated by fugery on the naive. The whole thing needs to be swept away and replaced by a simple and transparent payment system e.g. payment by activity. Then market forces might resolve many of the shortfalls?

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  • It is weird isn't it that those that are willing to go private probably get the worst service.. who are going to fill these shifts.

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  • This makes me sick. These Doctaly and other business doctors are contributing to the destruction of the NHS, which is the only basis on which health care can contribute to a health a country overall. If you have spare energy use it politically to improve resources, not greedily at the expense of the many. We have a shortage of GPs in the UK, and, even though fees are now high at medical school, they are a small proportion of our investment in staffing the NHS.
    It is shocking that people want to make money out of the health needs of others, and the record of the private sector in quality of health care is poor. In the US, with its thriving health care market, there are some of the worst health outcomes in wealthier countries including early death, not only because of exclusions but because of the strong evidence that inequality worsens everyone's health.
    And as an ageing GP I have seen the distrust a two tier service can bring. Not such fun in the consultation.

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  • Quite right Anna. The NHS is not yet broken but we can see the efforts of those who are breaking it in plain sight. perhaps thats what people want, but I'm not so sure as the facts are always well hidden by the current excuse for what is media journalism.
    The weasel words from so called colleagues who want to feed off this move toward disintegration- for a quick buck- leaves me nauseous.

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    VIa the app, GPs offer 15-minute consultations which cost £39.99 to £69.99 depending on the time and day of the week
    I cannot imagine anyone being prepared to pay this much unless there is a specific agenda
    - dependence meds
    - sick notes
    Then what about continuity
    How many follow up appts at the same price
    it only works if there is private insurance behind it

    Sounds more liKe one less doctor in the NHS
    If you are doing one thing then you are not doing another

    UBER style Docs
    So any unregistered un-audited doctor
    we all know the dangers of UBER

    - Temporary resident forms
    - Nhs direct booking of appts


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  • The last few posters are living under a rock- there are vast numbers of private GPs with people wIlling to pay far more for speed and convenience and good quality care- it is bloody hard to get an nhs appt
    IVe had patients go privately to numerous specialists for speed/ second opinion/better experience.....One of my nhs patients told me “ I
    Paid more for my hair cut than my private appt- which is more important?”
    The nhs works on goodwill- I break my back to give my patients a top class service and time ( you can’t do a holistic thorough job in 10 minutes???) and am rewarded with lengthy waiting lists and High demand and extreme stress?! A colleague does “in and out consults” and no one wants to see him- but he finishes on time and is chilling...... the plan to limit contact numbers is foolhardy all contacts are not equal! Why are people being so holier than though and high and mighty! Damn good for dr dinesh- he’s helping more people than the last few sanctimonious posters! There is no demand control in the nhs coz we suck it all up at the expense of ourselves.....someone has to value our service.....

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  • Plus basic eg
    We no longer have cryotherapy - (not funded)- so we refer dermatology ( waste of money and time) or send patients to a private Skin clinic which charges exorbitant amounts- why can’t we charge a nominal fee to out nhs patients ? Cheaper- they’re happier..... same for minor ops, LARCs etc......system is mad.... and throwing money at the broken system without addressing idiocies inherent in it will never work. Same day access destroyed continuity- surprise???????!!! You can’t lump emerge y appts and routine / preventative care in the same appt system? Madness- people are leaving in droves- wake up......

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