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Healthcare insurer AXA PPP healthcare is rolling out seven-day online GP consultations to patients, meaning they can access their GP from anywhere in the world.
Patients can make same-day appointments with the GP for a video consultation in which the doctor can prescribe medications, even if the patient is abroad. The medical note can be sent directly to the patient’s regular NHS GP or they can be referred to a specialist for further treatment.
Using the Doctor@Hand service from startup Doctor Care Anywhere, patients are able to choose which doctor they want to see, based on gender, name or expertise, either using an app or website.
The project was first trialled with Universal Music Holdings, where 97% of employees opted into the service.
Elliott Hurst, director of health consulting at AXA PPP healthcare, said the Doctor@Hand service will “allow patients to use technology that is already part of their everyday life to make their healthcare journey easier and simpler – and take better control of their health and wellbeing”.
Doctor Care Anywhere also plans to roll out symptom tracking and prescription management as part of the service.
Several companies offering online GP appointments have sprung up in the past few years to address the NHS GP waiting times. The government is also addressing the issue. In 2014, prime minister David Cameron announced plans for a seven-day NHS GP service, which includes video consultations with GPs, as well as more weekend and evening appointments.
In Portsmouth, eight GP practices have launched a trial called the Urgent Care Triage Hub, which gives patients appointments with GPs either over the phone or online to reduce pressure on accident and emergency departments and cut GP waiting times. The six-month trial is funded by NHS England and will be rolled out further if it is successful.