If you are bothered about news of the roll out of a “pay to see a GP” online scheme, here is a template letter you can use and send to your GP practice urging them not to take part in it. It says what is wrong with this Doctaly scheme and why their practice shouldn’t offer it.
This is the letter
I am concerned that the new private GP company Doctaly is to roll out a national “pay to see a GP” scheme that patients and GPs can sign up to via the Doctaly website.
I very much hope that GPs at our GP practice do not sign up to this Doctaly scheme.
This scheme signs up GPs to work for Doctaly, in their own practices and in their “spare” time; and it allows patients who want to pay for GP appointments to book and pay via the Doctaly website.
The cost of a 15 minute appointment varies between £39.99 and £69.99 depending on the time and day of the week. Patients choosing and booking an appointment through the Doctaly website are asked to confirm they are not registered at the GP practice they choose.
Doctaly does not employ GPs directly but takes a cut of their fee for their Doctaly “pay to see GP” appointments.
I am amazed that Doctaly thinks GPs have any spare time. We are led to believe that because of sustained underfunding of GP practices, GPs are so overstretched that their working lives are almost impossible.
In addition, the Doctaly scheme undermines the principle that the NHS is a comprehensive service that is free at the point of use to everyone, based on their clinical need, not their ability to pay.
Dr Jackie Applebee, chair of Tower Hamlets LMC, told Pulse Today that the Doctaly scheme is “very worrying” and would “further destablise general practice”. In addition, Dr Applebee said,
“This sort of service is the slippery slope towards privatisation of the NHS. It introduces the principle of topping up NHS services with purchased services if one has the disposable income. If the more affluent begin to do this in significant numbers it is only a small step to an insurance-based health service.”
GPC deputy chair Richard Vautrey has said that with the Doctaly scheme,
“ the risk is a more fragmented service and patients having remote consultations with doctors they don’t know and who won’t have full access to their NHS medical record.”
I look forward to your reply and as a patient at this practice, hope that this GP practice will decide not to give any time or space to this Doctaly scheme.
Local Medical Committee
Clinical Commissioning Group