A start-up company co-founded by a GP is offering patients £39 video consultations in a number of pharmacies around England.
MedicSpot virtual clinic, which launched in January and most recently expanded to Nottingham, now runs out of 40 pharmacies across eight cities and two towns. It is aiming to open in 30 cities by the end of the year.
The pharmacies give patients access to a blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, pulse oximeter, thermometer and a camera that allows the GP to look into a patient’s throat and ears.
After a consultation the GP is able to issue a prescription remotely, which the patient can then collect at the pharmacy.
Dr Zubair Ahmed, a GP and co-founder of MedicSpot, told Pulse that, based on his own research, over half of the patients (55%) who use the service are registered with the NHS ‘but find it difficult to get appointments’.
He added that the service has received many referrals from NHS walk-in centres for tourists, who are not eligible for care under the NHS,
He said: ‘In central London we are getting a lot of tourists who are using the service, who would normally have gone to A&E or an NHS walk-in centre. Instead of doing that they’re coming to one of our clinics.’
Pulse has previously reported that 33 practices in Hull and East Riding are trialling an electronic consultation system which will allow patients to submit their symptoms to a GP electronically and receive a response within one to two working days.
But for GP practices, research has found that offering online consultations is not likely to have notable impact on patient waiting times and could even add to practice workload.