I’m so thrilled to introduce my BritMums live sponsors, PrivateDoc to you. A leading provider of online doctor consultations and prescription service.
We live in an age when time is precious, we are proficient internet users, we shop online, vote online and now this service can completely revolutionise the way in which we perceive healthcare by being available to us online. When I was approached by PrivateDoc and asked if I would be interested in working with them, my first thoughts were; would this type of service be beneficial to me and my family. Is it something that I personally would be willing to buy in to?
I headed over to the website to have a look around and see for myself just what they have to offer. PrivateDoc offer a consultation service with a UK GMC-registered doctor. You simply go online fill in the medical questionnaire that is reviewed by a doctor who will respond within 24 hours. If it is needed you will be prescribed medication, delivered the next day by Royal Mail direct to your door. The consultation is free and you only pay for the medication if required. PrivateDoc presently provide treatments in eight main areas ranging from sexual health to influenza. However, there are currently plans to completely expand the range of treatments to a full privatised GP service.
I don’t know about you but I find it almost impossible to get an appointment with my GP when I need one. Firstly, I don’t know when I’m going to be unwell and can not pre-empt illness and book an appointment two weeks in advance! If I need an emergency appointment I have to call (and call and call) at 8.30am then make myself available to go any time they can slot me in (which isn’t always practical) or worse, have to go and sit and wait in a room full of even more germs. Which with a toddler, when you’re not feeling well is awful.
For those of you that read my blog or follow me on Twitter you will be aware that I was really poorly at Christmas, probably the most unwell I’ve ever been. I had flu, proper knock you for six, can not get out of bed and pick up the £10 note type of flu. I was so unwell that all the planning and weeks of preparation I put in for Christmas day lunch were wasted. I didn’t even make it out of my bed. It was dreadful. I was unable to get an appointment until the day after new years day and at that time I would have gladly paid for a prescription after going online filling in the medical questionnaire assessed by a real doctor, easily accessible and able to diagnose my symptoms. How convenient that would have been and so much less stressful.
Mr T is self employed and when you’re self employed time means money. I asked him if this service is something that he would consider. He agreed that the notion of being able to go online at a time to suit him and then have a prescription delivered to the door would be hugely appealing.
I have absolutely nothing against the NHS, in fact I love that we are lucky enough in this country to have a healthcare service and I’m very grateful. I do feel though, that having the option for an alternative to traditional healthcare is fantastic and there is definitely a place for it.
I wanted to hear about the people behind PrivateDoc and so I gave Nathan Muskett, one of the company’s founders, a short interview to find out more..
Tell me a bit about your background
The Pauls (the other two directors) are successful IT entrepreneurs who developed the IT infrastructure for the largest online pharmacy, and until a few months ago I was an M&A lawyer working horrendous hours at a big law firm. I left my career to join forces with the Pauls to re-launch and re-focus PrivateDoc.
What inspired you to set up PrivateDoc?
Two things really. Personal tragedies caused by, and personal experiences of, the NHS Primary Care Service. The route of the problem on both occasions was the same – accessibility – or lack thereof! So, with the Pauls, I set out to develop an affordable privatised alternative.
You must be busy, how do you juggle your work/family life?
Not very well according to our wives! At the moment we are all throwing ourselves into the launch so it isn’t easy, but we very are lucky to have amazing and supportive wives who share our vision for PrivateDoc.
Who can use your service?
Presently, anyone who is over 18 years old.
Is using an online service like this the way forward, and is there still a place for more conventional healthcare?
Yes! Last year alone it was predicted that 37m failed to access an appointment with a GP! There will be conditions that we cannot consult on remotely, but on those occasions we will be able to quickly refer the patient to a specialist who can assist them either remotely or in a conventional setting.
What would you say are the main benefits of being able to access a service like this?
It takes no more than 15 minutes to complete the medical questionnaire online, you don’t need to make an appointment, our GPs will review your questionnaire and respond to you within 24 hours, and if you require a prescription the medication will be delivered to your door the next day.
Is it completely safe?
Yes – our GPs are all regulated by the General Medical Council in exactly the same way as your local NHS GP, medication is dispensed by the largest online pharmacy in the UK, and all clinical matters are overseen by our clinical directors.
Tell me more about your clinical directors
We have 2 excellent clinical directors who live locally to us. One is a leading consultant surgeon with a PHD in medical management and the other is a consultant occupational physician. They are a husband and wife team, and have vast experience of turning around struggling health organisations globally.
How can we expect to see your services grow in the future?
We can’t give away too much at this stage, but what we are working towards is replicating, advancing and enhancing online a full service privatised GP surgery…
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?
We would love to be able to say that we have helped changed people’s perception about how they can access primary healthcare and have proven that you shouldn’t have to compromise on your health because of the shortcomings of the NHS Primary Care system.
What’s the best thing about being entrepreneurs?
Constantly trying to do things which others say cannot be done!
Thanks to Nathan for taking the time to talk to me today, it’s great to get some background on the company and having spent some time chatting I really admire how passionate and enthusiastic Nathan and the other founders Paul Marshall and Paul hayman are about PrivateDoc. I am very happy to be representing PrivateDoc here on my blog and at BritMums live. Do pop over to the PrivateDoc website to see for yourselves the services they have on offer there.