Patients charged £40 to see a GP?
A DIY doctor company has promised to help people struggling to see their GP – but they will have to pay £39 for the privilege.
Medicspot plans to roll out the digital clinics in selected pharmacies next year, to help thousands of people who are waiting more than a month to see their GP across the county.
The new initiative allows doctors to listen to a patient’s heart and lungs, look into their ears and throat, and take their vitals including blood pressure, oxygen levels and body temperature – all without needing to be in the same room.
Medicspot is already available, in Audley Late Night Pharmacy in Blackburn, where patients can book online and pay £39 for a same-day GP consultation. .
The company plans to bring the service to more pharmacies across Lancashire early next year.
However, East Lancashire's patients' champion Russ McLean said he was saddened by the move and claimed that services were being 'privatised by the back door'.
Mr McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group, said: "I know the CCGs have said they're expanding access to GPs on evening and weekends.
"This clearly isn't working as patients can't get appointments and are having to turn to companies like this instead.
"Government and commissioners need to invest in more GPs as what we're seeing now is privatisation of services through the back door and private companies making money out of patients."
"I'm quite saddened by this."
But Dr Zubair Ahmed, Co-founder of Medicspot, said: “In light of these figures, we hope our service will offer a convenient alternative for people in Bedfordshire and help ease some of the pressures the NHS is facing."
It comes after new data revealed that 13 per cent of people in Blackburn with Darwen are waiting longer than two weeks to get seen by a GP – with thousands waiting over a month for an appointment.
Recent NHS figures also suggest that 72 per cent of residents in the area were not offered a choice of time or date for their appointment, and six in ten did not get a same-day appointment with a GP.