In a way I’m not overly happy that a service like this exists, or has to exist. The NHS here in the UK is crumbling. There’s many reasons for it, and we could argue about them all day, but fact is – it’s broken. We’re now in a situation where the Red Cross are having to help out, and there’s a ‘Humanitarian crisis’ in NHS hospitals. If this was happening in another country we’d probably be sending foreign aid.
I do have a bit of an axe to grind if I’m honest. A couple of years ago we struggled for days to get seen at a walk-in centre or to get an appointment at a local GP because they’d recently closed a local surgery and the remaining one was overloaded. It’s still the same situation today, and when the surgery opens at 8AM, all appointment slots are taken by 8.03. It’s insane. My son ended up in hospital with meningococcal septicaemia, but we had to take him to A&E because we couldn’t get an appointment despite having an argument with the receptionist, who seems to act as judge and jury as to whether you’re sick enough.
However, if you do need to see a GP and you have money, there’s always a solution. Private health care is available but, until fairly recently this has meant paying a premium and then travelling to some posh hospital. There “Dr Jones” will get nurses to serve you tea while you spend as long as you’d like talking about your bunion.
Another service, with NHS GP’s, lets you see a doctor (yes, a proper doctor) via the camera on your smartphone. You can also use your tablet or computer if you wish. It’s called PushDoctor and you can get the app for Android and iOS. You get your first 10 minute appointment for £5. It’s an alternative to your local under-pressure surgeries with their old-school booking methods. Check out how many times my colleague called his local GP yesterday due to the line being constantly engaged. When he did get through at 8.18, guess what? Yep, all the appointment slots had gone..
Costs will rise if you use the service a second time. The next appointment will set you back £20 and then it’s another £20 for a further 10 minutes. Referral letters and sick notes are £12.50, prescriptions (which are sent to your local pharmacy) are £6.50. If this all sounds a bit pricey it’s because, if I’m honest, it is. You can instead pay £20 per month for unlimited appointment slots and letters / prescriptions plus everything else are included.
Now I know. I know this isn’t how things should be. The NHS should be there for us, but the reality is that you can’t always get to see your local GP and we all have busy lives. I don’t much like the fact that this service is offering access to UK GP’s and the service could be getting £120 per hour for each one, but it is what it is. £5 for peace of mind when you can’t get to your GP is a small price to pay.
Push Doctor tell us..
All Push Doctor GPs are NHS-trained and work in NHS clinics in their regular jobs. Our cutting-edge technology lets them fit Push Doctor consultations seamlessly into their out-of-hours work
Push NHS isn’t just a video-technology platform like Skype or FaceTime, it’s a specifically-designed service, that delivers a fully immersive, smart-consulting experience.
The system works on laptops and Chromebooks too. At the time of writing, we had a wait time of around 10 minutes for the next appointment…
If you need it, if you’re tired of the overloaded GP and can’t get to a walk-in centre, it’s an option to try. Get more details at PushDoctor.co.uk
Update – The Government are now calling for GP surgeries to stay open longer due to the demand for appointments.