Anger as GPs begin paid for premium service for same day appointments

GPs  : NHS family doctors today began offering 30-minute consultations and their mobile phone number to patients — for a £1,200 annual fee.

Concerns have been raised after some NHS doctors GPs have begun charging for same day appointments.

Some doctors this week began offering 30-minute consultations and their mobile phone number to patients – for a £1,200 annual fee.

More than 30 GPs in London and Hertfordshire have joined the Concierge Choice UK private scheme, which allows patients to select their doctor and request same-day appointments.

Anger as GPs begin paid for premium service for same day appointments

Scheme members will also receive annual health checks, as well as blood and urine tests.

Some will also get home visits if required.

One Sefton resident said: “This makes my blood boil.

“This is not what NHS doctors should be doing. If you want private patients, work privately.”

Dr Mark Sweeney, the Knightsbridge GP who founded the scheme, said he believed it would appeal to patients with chronic conditions who would benefit from longer consultations.

It would also prove attractive to people who smoke, or are overweight, but want long-term goals to improve their health, and to families, he said.

Children are free if both parents sign up. Each GP will be limited to 75 Concierge patients. The scheme hopes to attract 1,000 members within a year.

Appointments will each cost about £30 in addition to the annual membership fee.

Dr Sweeney told the Standard: “The average GP has about 1,700 to 1,800 patients. We expect our GPs to have about 25 to 30 Concierge patients, so it’s going to be a small part of their workload.

“The GP will still be spending 90 per cent of their time on NHS work. We want to work in a complementary way with the NHS. We will be recommending that patients remain registered with their NHS GP.

“If the patient consents, we will notify their GP with any findings that we obtain when we see them for the annual medical.”

The service takes advantage of NHS rules that allow GPs to generate a proportion of their income from non-NHS work, such as occupational health medicine, sports medicine, acupuncture or private care.

Average NHS GP appointments last for 10 minutes, can be limited to one health problem and are often hard to obtain quickly.

The NHS’s annual GP Patient Survey 2018 found that 24 per cent of people had to wait a week or more for an appointment.

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