4 Million Now Queue for Same-Day Appointments

In this week’s blog, Lee Dentith – CEO and Founder of Now Healthcare Group – looks at yet more worrying statistics concerning primary healthcare access in the UK.

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The winter flu season may finally be over, but sadly the pressure on NHS surgeries continues to mount. Another day, another series of statistics revealed from a rather damning survey of over 9,000 UK patients from across the country.

What stood out most to me was the fact that the number of people forced to physically queue for an appointment at their local NHS surgery has risen to an astonishing FOUR MILLION. Elderly and unwell patients are, in some cases, forced to queue outside the surgery doors in order to get seen on the same day – some are arriving at surgeries at daybreak and still face waits of several hours.

Our surgeries are often so overwhelmed by demand that they are routinely asking patients to wait outside, with those in the Patients Association condemning the situation as unacceptable – prolonging the suffering and discomfort of those who are often in urgent need of medical help.

When it comes to appointment waiting times, the numbers simply continue to get worse and worse – immigration, a shortage of doctors and an increasingly-ageing population are three major contributing factors for why patients in this country are continuing to suffer. The current model of healthcare in the UK just isn’t working, and the stats revealed from this latest survey make this simply undeniable.

Of 9,116 patients surveyed – all of which were in their over 50s – 33% said that they were unable to secure an appointment with a GP within seven days. Incredibly, up to two million are forced to wait for three weeks or more for an appointment, while many patients are routinely made to wait over one month just to see a doctor.

It’s not just the actual appointments which patients are queuing for, either – surgeries receive countless calls each morning from patients requesting to be seen, with many on hold for anywhere between 20 minutes to one hour.

A news article looks in depth at these figures, focusing on surgeries in South England which have become notorious for their lengthy waiting times. North Street Medical Centre (Romford, Essex) allegedly sees as many as 50 people queueing outside of the surgery doors each morning with receptionists admitting that patients “struggle to get a seat” when they do eventually make it into the waiting room. Another surgery in South East London sees queues which are 30-strong with patients regularly waiting up to two and a half hours to be seen.

The Royal College of GPs has pointed towards a shortage of doctors as a major reason for this, with nine in ten surgeries now forced to rely on locums because they are so short of permanent GPs.

To be frank, things need to change and they need to change now. The NHS system continues to creak under continued pressure, and it’s a system which is failing to attract new doctors and one which is also failing its patients.

Our vision as an mHealth organisation is to provide patients and GPs with a much-needed alternative. Our platform embraces flexible working hours for doctors to help them enjoy working in healthcare once again. We give patients the chance to speak to a MRCGP-certified doctor within a ten minute window via smartphone-based video call. We can even arrange for you to have your medicines delivered to your home or work address.

As a nation we need to think about the way we access and offer healthcare and think differently and smarter. We have the technology in place to ensure that patients aren’t forced to physically queue for appointments – it’s archaic and there is no place for it in today’s on-the-go society. It’s time for change, and it’s time to embrace mHealth.


Schools Advisory Service to Provide 100,000 with Instant GP Access

The leading school staff absence insurance provider will be using the Now GP app to reduce teacher absence and minimise disruption to children’s education in the UK.

Now Healthcare Group is delighted to announce a new partnership alongside Schools Advisory Service, the leading provider of staff absence insurance for schools and academies in the United Kingdom.

Schools Advisory Service will be introducing access to the Now GP mobile application to its 100,000 members, who work across 3,500 schools nationwide, from 1 April.

The partnership will enable teachers to have a convenient consultation via smartphone with a UK-based GP doctor at the touch of a button. They’ll also be able to receive their prescriptions and/or medicines as quickly as possible through Now GP’s integrated pharmacy system – helping them get back to work sooner or avoid taking time off.

The arrangement replaces Schools Advisory Service’s previous GP telephone service.

Recent figures show that 2.7 million teaching days are lost each year through sickness, with education professionals losing 10.2 days annually and an average of 4.5% of their working time. By partnering with Now Healthcare Group, Schools Advisory Service is taking steps to ensure that the education of our children is left uninterrupted by attempting to reduce the amount of time teachers lose to sickness.

Current regulations mean that when teachers are absent from work schools are unable to claim money to cover sickness for three days. By providing teachers with early access to a GP, this partnership will attempt to ensure that the majority of teachers will be able to stay in work thanks to early intervention when they fall ill – saving schools around the country money.

Director of Schools Advisory Service, Les Marshall, said:

“Our new service from Now Healthcare Group will be an essential element of trying to prevent and reduce staff absences in schools. This service is just what teachers have been asking us to provide for years and to finally be able to provide a service of the highest quality from the market leader demonstrates why Schools Advisory Service is the UK’s largest supplier of staff absence insurance.”

Founder & CEO of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, said:

“Now Healthcare Group is thrilled to be working with Schools Advisory Service through this exclusive partnership. We’re looking to significantly reduce the number of sickness days lost by teachers and education workers by giving them access to a GP immediately through our mobile app platform, Now GP. Our partnership will benefit schools, teachers and children alike as we look to minimise disruption to pupils’ education across the country.”


Closures Mean 25,000 Left without a GP – We’re Here to Help

CEO and Founder of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, shares his thoughts on our nation’s continued healthcare crisis and how the Now GP mHealth platform can help patients and doctors recover from the problem’s created by NHS closures.

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The alarming state of the National Health Service continues to dominate the news of the healthcare industry as we welcome in the New Year, with no signs of let up. Today it’s been revealed that circa 25,000 UK-based patients could be left without access to a GP as a new wave of practice closures see the NHS staggeringly close to breaking point.

It’s a momentous double-blow for the NHS, with a large number of GP surgeries also now unwilling and unable to take on new patients. The majority are citing rising patient demand, a lack of obligatory and imperative resources and a shortage of willing doctors as their main rationale for these harmful closures and patient facilitation restrictions.

At least 100 surgeries in England alone have applied to the health service in a bid to stop accepting new patients, leaving thousands of UK citizens without convenient access to primary health care. The move is the latest in a long line of drastic attempts to alleviate some of the strain on the increasingly-stretched service, with leading figures in the industry describing it as the “only option.”

Whilst some surgeries will be forced to labour on with their plight, as a dynamic and neoteric mHealth company our main perturbations rest with the patients who will unable to see a doctor when they need one the most. We’re at the apotheosis of the winter cold and flu season, and a shortage of primary care access will have detrimental effects on our nation’s functionality, particularly when it comes to employee sickness, unnecessary A&E visits, lengthy waiting times et al.


“Our mHealth solution is now needed more than ever”


Our mission at Now GP is to both decrease the pressures on our country’s health system and provide the nation with easy access to a doctor. Those who are denied access to their local surgery are perhaps unsure of where to turn – through Now GP, we bring a qualified, UK-based GP directly to them through innovative, video-based smartphone consultations.

The NHS’s problems lie with the issue of staff numbers. The pressure that our doctors are being put under has led to stress and depression becoming the third biggest reason for GP absences, behind maternity and bereavement. Working for an increasingly-strained service is taking its toll on our nation’s doctors, so I’m incredibly proud to be part of a company which is able to provide them with an opportunity to continue to do what they love at a time to suit them, in a more relaxed and stress-free setting.

It may be 2016 now but the NHS shows no signs of recovering from its horrifically bleak situation. Just last year a total of 160,000 patients were told they could no longer see a GP at their local surgery and were forced to turn elsewhere. With at least 25,000 already added to this number this year – and we’re only one week into January – more and more patients are set to suffer. Now GP is here to help by bringing access to a doctor back to our nation at a time and a place to suit them – and it would appear that our mHealth solution is now needed more than ever.

 


You can read more of Lee Dentith’s thoughts on both Twitter and LinkedIn.


 

 


Now GP Makes Two Senior Appointments

The innovative mHealth company welcomes a new COO and CTO following its recent relocation to Manchester’s MediaCityUK.

Now GP and Now Healthcare Group are delighted to announce the appointment of two new senior staff members following our recent expansion and move to Manchester’s MediaCityUK. We are able to confirm the appointment of Ian Ronald as Chief Operating Officer (COO), as well as the arrival of Tim Ng as Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

Ian Ronald arrives at Now Healthcare Group as an experienced operator of retail and consumer businesses including BP, Pizza Hut, Scholastic, Tastecard and The Wine Society. He is an expert in business strategy and development, revenue growth and operational improvement. He is responsible for delivering the Now GP service to the high standards set by Now Healthcare Group as a company.

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Ian Ronald, COO of Now GP

Ian’s experience covers several sectors, including financial technology, restaurants, children’s books and fine wines. His role will see him remain focused on what the customer – the Now GP patient – requires and the best ways in which this can be achieved through our mHealth service.

Tim Ng boasts a wealth of experience, having been a leader of technology teams in a variety of settings for over 16 years. His CV includes previous employment at companies including Fujitsu/ICL, Latitude Group, threeSixty Services LLP (Standard Life) and tech start-up company Property Moose.

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Tim Ng has also joined as CTO

A number of core platforms developed by Tim have been integrated with large scale enterprise systems and web API frameworks with Overture (Yahoo), Google and MIVA. His role at Now Healthcare Group will see him oversee the continued development and innovation of the Now GP mHealth platforms and applications.

The appointments come at an exciting time for Now GP, with new business clients and further exciting opportunities soon to be announced in the New Year, as Now Healthcare Group continues to establish itself as the world’s premier mobile health organisation.

Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group and Now GP, Lee Dentith, made the following statement:

“We are thrilled to welcome both Tim and Ian to the business, with these appointments further showing our ambition as a company as we head into 2016. Our commitment to providing patients with an effective healthcare solution will continue into the New Year, and with Ian and Tim both on board we’re confident that we can continue our fantastic progress and make further strides as a business. ”


GP Earnings Down Once Again

Official figures released this morning have shown that GP partners’ earnings dropped once again in 2013/2014 – making it the eighth year in a row that the average salary for a GP partner has been down on the previous year.

The annual GP Earnings and Expenses report, which is compiled by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, found that combined partner and salaried GP’s earnings before tax was now £90,200 – a 2.9% drop on levels from the previous year.

The salary of GP partners has fallen by 1.4% to 96,000 before employers’ superannuation costs are taken into account. Since a peak in 2005/2006 of £110,000 average pay, the amount has decreased every year since.

Strikingly it has also been announced the average income for the average salaried UK GP is now £54,600 – only 9% more than the £50,000 per year offered to physician associates with just two years’ training. This figure, coupled with the added pressure doctors are now under due to the strain on the nation’s health service, has led to GP leaders saying it is “no wonder” young doctors were shunning general practice.

The average GP wage in the United Kingdom has decreased by 3.3% in just one year, with Dr Richard Vautrey of the General Practitioners’ Committee (GPC) claiming that the figures “provide yet more evidence of the growing financial pressures faced by general practice.”

“With two thirds of a practice’s income being used on the basics of keeping a practice afloat, including paying for rising costs for utilities, building upkeep and vital staff such as receptionists and nurses, there is nothing left to develop effective patient services that meet patient’s growing needs,” said Dr Vautrey.

As the nation’s health service continues to buckle under ever-increasing pressure, the Now GP telehealth solution is more vital than ever before for doctors and patients alike – we provide certified GPs with the flexibility to do their job at hours to suit them whilst offering patients an innovative solution to their primary healthcare needs. Find out more – download the Now GP app today!