THE BLOG

Fit And Healthy Adults Should Pay To See A GP And Ease The NHS Burden

12/06/2017 16:20 BST | Updated 13/06/2017 09:48 BST
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Every day, there are four million people trying and failing to get a same day appointment with their GP.

For many patients, getting an appointment at their local surgery means taking half a day off work or waiting weeks for a convenient slot.

Cash strapped, under-staffed and over-stretched - GP practices across the UK are at breaking point but there is a simple solution.

If more fit and healthy adults between the ages of 18 - 65 paid to see a private doctor, it would significantly ease the overwhelming burden on NHS GPs.

Convenience

Collectively, we pay billions for the NHS every year so why should we pay to see a private doctor when technically appointments should be free? After all, aren't private doctors for the rich and famous?

Despite this common perception, the cost to see a private doctor can be as little as £55 and for this, you get to see a highly experienced GP for a 15-minute appointment.

From a patient perspective the real benefit of seeing a private GP is convenience. If you wake up Monday morning with swollen glands, you can book to get seen before your 10am conference call. If you suddenly realise you need a doctor's note to run the New York marathon and can't wait for a local GP appointment, you can see a private GP the same afternoon.

If more people were made aware that there is a choice, not only would it help the NHS cope with rising demands, but you'd see a huge improvement in patient satisfaction. Those with serious health needs would have more access to the NHS and those who value convenience and can afford it, would get what they want.

London Doctors Clinic

I'm a senior NHS GP and the founder of one of the UK's fastest growing private practices called London Doctors Clinic (LDC). Since launching in 2014, we've experienced a surge in demand for private consultations and have treated over 30,000 patients - many of whom pop in during a short half-hour break or en route to work.

The main reasons patients book to see us is because they need antibiotics, a sexual health check, Zika Virus testing and increasingly, the hay fever injection.

There is a very large number of people who need 'notarising' services that are not free on the NHS even if you can get an appointment; such as fit to compete in sports certificates, unfit to sit exams, immigration medicals, and many many more.

Future of the NHS

It's great to see the rapid growth of private doctor's clinics but we are still a long way from having an effective private health care system that works in tandem to the NHS.

To make this happen, public perception of the private healthcare system has to change.

The NHS is an incredible resource and one that does a tremendous job of keeping the population alive. In my opinion, the NHS should be free to prioritise healthcare needs for the most vulnerable in our society - not those whose greatest need is convenience.