Accident & Emergency Misuse: We’re Here to Help

In his latest blog, Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group Lee Dentith discusses the misuse of accident & emergency departments in UK hospitals and how mHealth can be used to reduce inappropriate admissions.

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As I was browsing through last week’s news stories, I found myself once again reading a story concerning the worrying misuse of our nation’s accident and emergency facilities. Peterborough City Hospital recently reported a phenomenal 40% rise in patient numbers, with countless patients turning up with issues for which a trip to A&E were completely unnecessary.

It was reported that one woman turned up to the hospital as she had a broken finger nail, while another complained of suffering from hiccups! This is simply not what A&E is for – and, in all honesty, it isn’t something which healthcare providers have the time to be dealing with.

“Unprecedented numbers” are turning up at A&E departments on a regular basis, at a cost of around £120 to the NHS each time someone comes through the door.

This quote from chief operating officer at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Neil Doverty, is rather worrying:

“On Sunday and Monday our staff treated some 700 patients over the two days, which equates to 40% more patients than the usual average attendance. [People need] to think about the treatment they need before they come to A&E.”

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While the broken nails scenario is presumably something of a one-off, a dangerous number of people are using A&E services for health issues which are simply not appropriate.

As a nation we have to take a step back and think about why this is continuing to happen, and a lack of access to primary care is undoubtedly a major contributing factor. In today’s busy “on-the-go” society, people don’t have the time to wait weeks for an appointment with their local GP. This means that when people fall ill, even if it’s minor issues like coughs and colds, they will head straight to A&E departments or NHS walk-in centres to seek help.

This is where we come in. Mobile healthcare is a fantastic alternative when it comes to primary care access. What we need right now is to alleviate pressure on the health service as much as possible, and our products have been created for exactly that purpose.

By connecting patients to a GP through their smartphone, our Now GP platform has been created for ultimate convenience and to help reduce the number of these inappropriate A&E admissions. The current model isn’t working – it’s time to embrace mHealth and the benefits it can bring to our society.


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.”


London to be Hit Hard by Surgery Closures

CEO and Founder of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, looks at the weekend’s worrying GP surgery news, with one in five practices in London expected to close down within the next three years.


Rising demand for appointments, doctor shortages and unmanageable workloads will play havoc with primary healthcare in the capital in the coming months. New research among 644 surgeries has confirmed the worst for London practices, with one in five facing the prospect of closure within three years.

This survey reflects the worrying state of approximately half of the capital’s surgeries. As a result of this relentless pressure and strain, it was found that an eighth of London practices are considering scaling back the services they offer. With onsite primary healthcare already inaccessible for thousands of London-based patients, many will be unsure of where to turn with fewer services available and no local clinic to rely on.

19 surgeries have already announced that they will definitely be closing by 2019, with a further 17% of all London practices not ruling out doing the same. Research points to a shortage of family doctors and an increasingly difficult and unmanageable workload as two of several reasons for the potential closures.

As London’s population continues to accelerate – there’s now 8.6 million living in the capital – the accessibility of reliable primary care at the same time diminishes. We’re edging dangerously close to the system as we know it reaching breaking point, and it’s time to have a serious look at alternatives.

Jeremy Hunt has recently finalised a package of emergency measures to relieve strain on GP services – but will it be enough? I found this quote from Dr Naureen Bhatti, in an interview with The Guardian, particularly powerful:

“We’ve had very few applicants [for our GP job vacancies]. We were surprised because we’ve never had trouble filling our jobs before. But it’s become very difficult in the last six to nine months…The vacancies mean that our workload, which is already heavy and rising, has become enormous. I’m absolutely exhausted. I worked from 8am to 9pm or 10pm every day this week and now I often see patients on what are supposed to my administration days because so many people want an appointment.”

It’s staggering to me how we can let our health service reach this kind of drastic state without taking action earlier. The potential of mobile health services has been known by those in the industry for a long time, and it’s so evident that it’s needed now more than ever.

We want to work with the health service to assist them in a much-needed transition to a more tech-minded approach to healthcare. At times like these the industry needs to come together and work differently – we need to use mHealth to be smarter about how we provide the nation with the care it deserves and so badly needs. Through our service we are able to provide patients with appointments from the comfort of their own home – waiting times, appointment demand and poor access to a GP can all be solved through integration with our innovative app.


You can read more of my thoughts on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter.


Average Patient Numbers Grow for UK Practices

In today’s blog, CEO and Founder of Now GP Lee Dentith looks at the alarming figures revealed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre and how this will affect patients.

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Today’s report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre further highlighted the worrying plight of our country’s healthcare service. Figures show that the average GP practice in the United Kingdom has seen its patient list grow by 2% in just eight months.

2% perhaps doesn’t sound that severe, but if you take into account that this represents about 169 additional patients for certain UK practices to deal with, it has the potential to be incredibly detrimental to the NHS’s ability to look after our nation’s primary healthcare safely.

It’s estimated by Pulse that, should this trend continue, the year on year growth rate for patient numbers in 2015-16 will be 3.5%. What we’re seeing is a significant drop in GP practice numbers combined with a 0.9% increase in the total number of patients registered with a GP across England. The numbers, quite simply, do not add up – we’re seeing local practices and surgeries close at an alarming rate, with as many as 25,000 patients set to lose access to their current GP in the rest of this year alone.

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As patient numbers grow, this puts those remaining surgeries under increased pressure. More patients and less doctors can lead to several worrying conclusions, each having an injurious effect on those placed under this added and unnecessary strain.

We can expect these new figures to cause target waiting times to spiral further out of control. With more of us needing access to a GP for our primary healthcare concerns, but with surgeries busier than ever before, it seems clear to me that the health sector needs to think differently to ensure the level of care our nation is provided with does not diminish.

We need to think smarter about the way our patients can receive the primary care that they need, and attention must turn to more alternative, convenient services. In just three years we’ve seen the number of patients forced to wait for a week to see their GP increase by a third – this makes for staggering reading, and it’s imperative that something is done to help.

We live in a time when opportunities for digital and technical innovation are vast, yet the NHS – a pillar of our society for so many years – is dragging its heels and failing to appropriately adapt. We’re working hard to bring our mHealth solution to the masses in an effort to make healthcare convenient and accessible for everyone once again.


For more of Lee’s thoughts, follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn

 


Now GP Partners with Medex Protect to Tackle Staff Sickness Through New Scheme

Now GP’s video consultation system is one of several benefits offered to businesses through Medex Protect’s new ‘Sick Pay Protect’ scheme.


Now GP, the medical diagnostic branch of Now Healthcare Group, is partnering with medical insurance company Medex Protect to provide businesses with a new type of insurance cover to help manage sickness absence and gain reimbursements of statutory sick pay (SSP) payments.

A company at the forefront of medical insurance development, Medex Protect has created Sick Pay Protect to grant businesses access to a unique policy designed to combine the benefits of effective absence management with greater financial freedom and assurance.

The Sick Pay Protect policy will refund SSP contributions to businesses for up to 28 weeks if employees are absent from work for a minimum of seven days. It includes effective risk management via embedded pre-commencement screening, online risk assessments and access to Now GP’s state-of-the-art online remote video consultation primary healthcare service to grant employees instant access to a GP.

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Jason Dunks, commercial director of Medex Protect, said:

“Access to private GP appointments on a same day basis will not only be a valued benefit to scheme members, it will reduce absence costs for the employer associated with the positive benefits derived from prompt access to primary care support at the outset of an illness.”

Now GP is the world’s first mobile app to provide those unwell with a remote consultation with a professionally-certified GP and the delivery of medicines directly to their home or office. Established with both technology and medical knowledge in mind, the platform brings a wealth of benefits to businesses and HR departments looking to provide their employees with a benefit-in-kind free health service to help take the hassle out of healthcare and reduce staff sickness.

Employee absence costs UK businesses collectively £29 billion each year, with Now GP acting as an effective solution for short-term staff sickness. Patients are able to speak to an MRCGP-certified GP at a time to suit them, with medicines delivered overnight or in as little as two hours in central London.

CEO and Founder of Now GP and its parent company Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, said of the new partnership:

“Now GP is delighted to be working alongside Medex Protect to offer UK businesses an effective primary care solution as part of the company’s new innovative absence management product. Instant access to a GP is the key to tackling the issue of short-term sickness in the workplace and we look forward to working on this exciting project in the coming months.”


 

View the Now GP promotional video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8gf7KH2gUE

Download the app from the App Store and Google Play.

 


10 Million Left Frustrated By Inconvenient NHS as Waiting Times Soar

In his regular blog, Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group Lee Dentith looks at the latest NHS news and why urgent action is needed to stop the system from reaching breaking point. 

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More and more people are now voicing their continued frustration with the National Health Service, with new damning research revealing that over ten million NHS patients per year are struggling to get an appointment with a GP. Crucially, it also reaffirms the fact that people in the United Kingdom are more dissatisfied with the service than ever before.

A mass survey of over one million patients has emphasised the problems that the NHS continues to face, with GP appointment waiting times, inconvenient opening hours and busy phone lines three of the most commonly-expressed complaints.

Incredibly, the number of patients who are forced to wait for one week or more to see a GP has risen by a third in just three years. This means that over ten million are unable to see a doctor in the same week when they fall ill.

The fact that the NHS is overstretched has long been known, but alarmingly this new report finds that some practices are closing for up to three and a half hours at lunchtime, or even closing up for full afternoons and weekends. With the number of patients unhappy with surgery hours rising to almost 75%, this is completely unacceptable, and cannot continue.


Here is a full breakdown of the shocking statistics uncovered by the survey (GP Patient Survey 2016):  

  • 18.7% of patients said their surgery was not open at convenient times – rising from 16% in 2012.
  • 18.1% of patients waited more than a week to see a GP – rising from 13.8% in just three years.
  • 11% of patients said they had failed to get an appointment at all – rising from 9.6% in 2012.
  • 10.8% said that GP receptionists were “unhelpful” – rising from 9.5% in 2012.
  • 25.8% said it was difficult to get through to a doctor’s surgery by telephone – a rise from 19.9% in 2012.

This makes for disturbing reading for patients and those involved in the healthcare industry. With growing reservations from GPs that David Cameron’s seven day onsite service ambitions would push an already struggling NHS closer to breaking point – especially if it were to be based on a continuation of its current model – these new figures will do little to convince us otherwise. Dissatisfaction with the NHS is rising, and rising at an incredible rate – we must implement major changes now to ensure that the nation is still provided with the healthcare system it deserves and that each person’s needs are catered for.

This is where Now GP is looking to change the current primary healthcare landscape. We’re looking to provide relief for our struggling NHS, with our mHealth solution able to provide GPs and surgeries with much-welcomed respite from  soaring demands, as well as offering patients an effective alternative to lengthy waiting times.

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With an MRCGP-certified professional doctor available at the touch of a button, the Now GP app can eliminate those early morning phone calls to your surgery and the inconvenience of having to wait several days for an appointment. We’re also looking to combat the country’s growing problem of staff sickness, and can deliver medicines and prescriptions straight to a patient’s home or office.

Dr Maureen Baker, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, told The Telegraph that the health service was working harder than ever to meet increasing demand but lacked the resources needed to allow them to do their jobs efficiently and thoroughly. We share their ambitions to turn things around for UK healthcare – that’s why we’re providing the Now GP app to patients to help alleviate the pressure on our hard-working doctors and to provide better access to healthcare for all. You can find out more on the Now GP website, www.nowgp.com

 


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


 

 

 


Now GP Completes First Ever International Consultation from New York City

Now GP has made history by delivering its first ever consultation from New York City via remote video consultation.


 

Now GP, Europe’s fastest-growing mobile health app created by Now Healthcare Group, has delivered its first ever international medical diagnosis, with a UK patient connected to his UK-based GP from the United States via smartphone video call.

The patient, Karl, was sightseeing in New York City when he began to feel unwell. By connecting with a Now GP doctor via smartphone, he managed to avoid extortionate US medical costs, the struggle to find a clinic in an unfamiliar location and could speak to a doctor who knew his previous medical history.

Karl was comforted by the advice of a familiar face, and was able to enjoy the rest of holiday safe in the knowledge that he could speak to his GP whenever he needed to – at the touch of a button, in the palm of his hand.

Now GP consultation from New York City

Dr La, the GP who conducted the consultation, said:

“It’s very exciting for the company and me personally to have conducted the first ever Now GP international mobile consultation. This really highlights the outstanding reach of our app and how we are able to assist patients wherever they are in the world.”

Those who fall unwell, have health concerns or are looking for reassurances whilst on holiday have previously faced the nightmare scenario of being in need of assistance when in an unfamiliar location. Language issues, where to go to be seen and medical costs are just a few of the many issues holidaymakers are faced with when ill abroad.

A study has shown that a significant number of tourists suffer from weekend or vacation sickness, with headaches, migraines, fatigue, muscular pains and nausea the most commonly-cited causes of such illness.

Founder and CEO of Now GP, Lee Dentith, said:

“Now GP is ensuring our patients that they will no longer be left anxious over their healthcare whilst on holiday, by connecting them to a GP from the UK – wherever they are, whenever they need.

This is part of our ambitions to revolutionise the world of travel healthcare, providing you with reassurance and access to a qualified doctor when you need it the most. We’re thrilled to have conducted our first consultation from outside of the United Kingdom. It’s a huge step forward for Now GP and Now Healthcare Group.”

Case Study*

  • Karl, 17, is on holiday in New York City with his friends
  • After heading to the top of the Empire State Building, he feels dizzy, nauseous and unwell
  • Concerned for his wellbeing, he uses Now GP to connect with Dr La instantly, who he has had previous consultations with and who is aware of his existing medical conditions
  • Karl is reassured by his GP that he is suffering from mild vertigo, and advised to head back down to the street – where he quickly begins to recover
  • Karl avoids extortionate US medical costs, the inconvenience of finding a local clinic, and is calmed by the advice of a familiar face
  • He enjoys the rest of his vacation worry-free, safe in the knowledge that his GP is available at the touch of a button, in the palm of his hand

 

*Permission granted from the patient for access to his name and image for editorial purposes


Listen to GPs: 88% Will Not Consider Onsite 7 Day Contracts, and Attention Must Turn to mHealth

CEO and Founder of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses the concerns of NHS GPs over proposed onsite seven day access contracts and why mHealth is the only tangible solution to solve the nation’s continued healthcare crisis.  

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As the world of healthcare gets caught up in the whirlwind of chaos caused by today’s junior doctor’s strike, there’s been yet further damaging and detrimental news for the government:  a new survey has revealed that a monumental 88% of NHS GPs will not be willing to sign up to onsite seven day contracts.

David Cameron harbours ambitions for a seven day access service which will supposedly help to “get rid of the box-ticking and the form filling” whilst offering extended routine appointment times 12 hours a day, seven days a week. But with seven out of eight doctors defiantly expressing that they would not even consider signing such a contract, the reluctance of GPs to take the government up on their offer remains irrefutably clear.

The survey uncovered some very compelling information as to why our nation’s doctors are unwilling to take on this extra work, with concerns mounting that an increase in surgery hours would see the NHS’ already severely stretched resources and workforce pushed to breaking point. How can we expect our doctor’s to safely deliver care for patients seven days a week if a five day week is already proving impossibly difficult?

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Pulse gathered some hard-hitting quotes from GPs across the country which showed just how fiercely they are disputing this proposed hours extension. Some described the government’s plans as “foolhardy”, citing the poor performance of pilot schemes as a major factor behind the rejection of such intentions.

Speaking with GPs personally, I have found that the majority are in considerable doubt as to whether the increase of opening hours would equal an increase in funding for surgeries in the long term. If there were to be any funding increase, it would almost certainly not be enough to justify the additional work undertaken by doctors at weekends and evenings.

With a growing number of our nation’s healthcare staff becoming disillusioned with the strain being placed upon their profession, it seems clear to me and several others in the industry that a ramp up in pressure, hours and expense is exactly what the National Health Service doesn’t need. What it does need is an alternative – a way of introducing seven day access which doesn’t see doctors pushed to breaking point.

Seven day healthcare access is, of course, a fantastic proposition. It’s also fast becoming a necessary requirement to ensure that demand is met and that patients are left completely satisfied with their healthcare service. But, simply put, it isn’t at all feasible under the current NHS model and the traditional doctor’s surgery. Doctors will not work onsite seven days a week, and the system wouldn’t be able to cope if they did. The burden of healthcare needs to be shared in order to make it manageable, and at Now GP, that’s what we do.

Our technology has been developed over the last 18 months to combat this exact situation head on. Why increase strain on our healthcare professionals when they are already struggling to cope with the current excessive demands placed upon them?

The only tangible solution to the country’s continued problem is through the incorporation of our innovative mHealth service. Make seven day appointments possible, yes – but make them possible through a platform which lets our hard-working GPs decide when and where they want to work. This allows us to maintain the high standards of healthcare that our patients deserve, whilst helping to reignite a sense of passion in our industry amongst our healthcare professionals.


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


 

 


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. ”