More companies are embracing online GP services, could they help ease the NHS crisis

A view from Soraya Chamberlain, Director of Corporate Health & Wellbeing at Punter Southall Health & Protection

It’s been impossible to avoid recent headlines focusing on the mounting pressures upon NHS services. This month’s warning from Red Cross – regarded by many as unprecedented – that hospitals in England are facing a ‘humanitarian crisis’ has been considered a ‘wake-up call’ for drastic action to be taken to support the NHS. Many doctors and healthcare professionals have also voiced their concerns that lives are being put at risk because A&E departments are being overwhelmed by patient numbers.

The latest figures from NHS Improvement revealed that since the start of December, only 82.3% of patients who attended A&E were seen within the set four hour target. The worst performance since the target was introduced in 2004.

But what is the solution for people who need to access healthcare services?

Soraya Chamberlain, Director of Corporate Heath & Wellbeing at Punter Southall Health & Protection said: “The current pressures on our NHS concern many people. Our National Health Service is a longstanding institution admired the world over. But, the latest headlines will only add to the growing angst that the service just can’t cope any more. With our ageing population, more of us than ever before will live with chronic health conditions so the present pressures show little signs of abating.”

“For some, the current crisis may spur them to look for alternative healthcare solutions. Private Medical insurance is one obvious choice but this can be costly depending on the type of cover required and if pre-existing medical conditions are in place. Cash plans are another, more affordable option that is worth considering.  But, for those wanting to speak to a doctor quickly and when they really need medical advice, an online GP service, like Med24 is a really cost-effective and convenient solution.

Launched in Autumn 2015, Med24 is a web-based app that can be downloaded on any smartphone, tablet or PC, providing unlimited access to a virtual GP surgery.  The service offers unlimited 24/7 access to practicing GP’s by telephone from anywhere in the world. Plus, eConsultations can be arranged with a qualified doctor via a webcam so that real-time, face-to-face contact is available when it’s really needed. All supported by a private prescription service.

Chamberlain adds: “I know that that the current situation with the NHS worries many employers too. If their staff are unwell and unable to get access to medical advice and treatment when they need it, it can result in additional stress, prolonged illness and longer recovery times all leading to increased absence from work.”

“We’re seeing growing numbers of organisations offering online GP services to their workforces. They want to ensure that employees can get access to the medical services they need when they really need them. The ability to speak to a GP at a convenient time and place – whether that’s at home, work or on the move – provides valuable peace of mind.”