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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)

  • Vinci Ho

    Commercial opportunities here and there . From this point of view , I see no problem at all. Patients have to understand their customer terms and conditions; hence , pros and cons of paying for these consultations.
    The only thing I am constantly on about is the security risks of your Big Data , as being revealed in the FaceBook-Cambridge Analytica-AggregateIQ scandals.
    As I wrote under the other article about GP practices with Facebook pages , convenience always comes with a price and this price could be hefty. One simply has to be responsible for the consequences of one’s choice, full stop.

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  • Dear Dr McDevitt with due respect your long awaited negotiated contract has no significant numbers of allied health professionals available to help us with a deluge of workload that is being experienced. Your contract isn’t going to help us now or even in the next few years. The BMAs priority is supporting the NHS at the expense of its members

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  • Well those practices will need to be aware of this Gms clause! They NHSe get you either way!

    Does the 10% limit on private earnings within your practice premises still exist under the new contract?
    Yes. If you earn more than 10% private earnings from your practice’s premises then your cost or notional rent will be abated accordingly. This is laid down in the National Health Service General Medical Services – Premises Costs (England) Directions 2004 and their equivalent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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  • @Neo99 you may find those regs changed in 2015. There is no limit in the latest GMS contracts.

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  • Dear All,
    10% limit does not apply and is your ipad that you drove in within your car and will driv eout again at the end of teh day part of teh premises that NHSE/S/NI/W is paying for?
    These guys are not stupid, they've had plenty of time to run rings around the stupid and out dated NHS regulations.
    Fragmentation runs on apace..........
    Regards
    Paul C

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  • @paul c. Interesting and that is what I thought too but the above is from the BMA guidance focus on private practice last updated 14th February 2018.

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  • @Fedup
    I became a Dr, not because of the money, but because of the founding principles of the NHS.
    When I am old I hope the NHS will be there to look after me and then my children. The Scottish contract is agreed, not going to yield anything immediately, but at least it is a vision for the future.
    I have being saying no to unfunded secondary care and other work for some time now. You should try it.

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  • As founder of Doctaly, I make no apology for trying to bring a value to General Practice. Top down reform has decimated primary care and nobody has done anything about it, not our representatives. GPs are leaving in droves across the country. We have been abused by a contract that is deliberately ambiguous and totally out of date for modern general practice. I have worked 10 years as a NHS GP working 9 sessions/week, and I'm done. It's time for bottom up reform. I believe the Doctaly model works in parallel to existing GMS/PMS contracts without affecting NHS provision at all. It creates extra supply but the GP is paid on activity not an arbitrary perceived activity. The NHS's greatest asset is its staff. They need to be valued. This is not about GPs earning more money, its about mindset change for both patients and doctors. That is what will ensure the longevity of the NHS.

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  • Bravo Dinesh, fingers crossed for your success, the reliance on incompetent nhs managers has to finish at some stage. There will be attempts to drawback notional rents in premises where private work is done and let's be prepared for sabotage by nhse.

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  • it would be better and safer to see our own patients privately. Of course there have to be some limits (like consultant contract) otherwise people would game it.

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