Private GP service offered within NHS hospital’s pharmacy

Patients visiting an NHS hospital can opt to pay for a private GP service operating within its pharmacy.

The pharmacy in Sheppey Community Hospital in Kent is offering the MedicSpot service, which sees remote GPs perform clinical examinations on patients via video link.

Patients can book the £39 consultations online, by phone, or within the pharmacy, where they can usually be examined and issued with medication within 15 minutes.

Founder Dr Zubair Ahmed said: “We’re not aiming to replace NHS GP surgeries but as doctors we are all concerned about waiting times and the problems this can inevitably cause.

“We believe that patients have the right to be seen immediately when necessary and are delighted to be one of only a few online GP services to have been commended by the Care Quality Commission.”

The pharmacy is owned by family-run company Delmergate, which has sites in a number of hospitals in Kent.

General manager Clinton Bubb said: “Increasingly, pharmacists and GPs are working together to provide a health service that’s second to none.

“It makes absolute sense to work as a team, ensuring that visitors to the MedicSpot Clinic will benefit from our joint medical expertise, benefiting from peace of mind or relief from discomfort, often much faster than has previously been possible.”

East London GP Dr Jackie Applebee warned the practice could “undermine” the NHS.

She told GP magazine Pulse: “It is bad enough that these services are available in pharmacies, but housing them in NHS hospitals undermines NHS general practice and drives a wedge between primary and secondary care when we should be working together for the good of our patients.

“This is no way to address the crisis in the NHS and these online private services are exploiting the crisis to make a profit.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Danny Lawson / PA Wire.