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GPs HAVE recoiled in horror at the latest in a line of private services to spring up in recent months: ‘Deliveroo Doctors’ that will ‘deliver’ a GP to a patient’s workplace or home!

AKEA Life has marketed itself as a ‘Deliveroo for doctors’, based on the food delivery service, saying it will conduct consultations wherever the patient is located, charging £120 a month for pensioners. Other companies marketing themselves over the past few weeks include a new service for frequent travellers launched by the Flight Centre travel retailer, and a new on-demand GP online service.

The BMA has expressed extreme concern about new private services, warning that treating patients without full access to medical records makes treatment more ‘risky’. An investigation last year warned that several new services, mainly using smartphone apps, were offering ‘convenient GP appointments at a cost.’

The latest private services include:
• AKEA’s ‘Deliveroo-style service, which aims for patients to see the same GP every time and offers patients the chance to view all their confidential medical information such as consultations, test results and referral information;
• The Flight Centre’s new service – for which they’ve partnered with Doctor Care Anywhere – offers video or telephone consultations with GPs who can then issue prescriptions to be collected at a pharmacy local in their respective destination. This business class perk is included in the cost of an international flight if booked via Flight Centre.
• The ‘Video Doc/Doctor on Demand’ service, aimed at companies, which aims to cut down on employee absenteeism by offering video consultations from 8am to 10pm Monday to Sunday.

There is real concern about the level of patient care being offered by private companies’ on-demand GP services and whether treatment for patients is being compromised in not attending a GP practice.

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee deputy chair, said: ‘The BMA has expressed concern about the development of services like this as patients are treated without full access to their GP practice clinical record which makes prescribing and treatment more risky.

‘What’s really needed is significant investment in NHS GP services to ensure practices can develop their services further to meet patient needs.’ Private companies are taking advantage of the pressure on NHS GP services, with the average waiting time for an appointment increasing to almost two weeks.

They are providing substandard services by ‘doctors’ without access to a patient’s medical records and without the true interests of the patient at heart. Their number one priority of course is profit!

• Privatisation of the NHS by stealth continues as Virgin Care takes over the dermatology service at Grimsby’s hospital trust. A letter received by a patient details how, from April 1, 2017, the service will be provided by the private company Virgin Care ‘following commissioning changes’.

Patients who are under dermatology have been asked if their information can be transferred to Virgin Care. Another extremely concerning factor contained in the letter sent to patients is: ‘If you object to NLAG transferring your care directly to Virgin Care, you will be discharged back to the care of your GP for appropriate re-referral.’

And once again you are back on the waiting list, to begin the process again. And where exactly can you be re-referred to that is still NHS? Another health authority? Meanwhile 52 community health and care services have been transferred over to Virgin Care in the Bath area.

As of April 1 Virgin Health Care will deliver community health and care services in Bath and North East Somerset. It is the first time a for-profit company will be in charge of out-of-hospital services after Virgin Care won a £700 million contract. Virgin Care was selected last year ahead of a rival bid from a consortium of local services led by Sirona Health and Care.

The seven-year contract is thought to be, in terms of financial value, the largest deal the company has ever won from a single authority.

Services to be delivered directly by Virgin Care
Statutory services
• Adult Social Care Statutory Services
• Continuing Healthcare
• Children’s Statutory Services
Non-statutory services
• Public Health Nursing
• B&NES Community Children’s Health Service
• Children’s Bladder and Bowel Service
• Children’s Community Nursing and Psychology Service
• Children’s Continuing Care
• Children’s Learning Disability Service
• Children’s Speech and Language Therapy
• Community Based Adult Audiology and Hearing Therapy Services
• Community Bladder and Bowel Service (Adults)
• Community Hospital Inpatients
• Community Nursing (Adults)
• Falls and Movement Disorders
• Integrated Reablement Service
• Integrated Sexual Health
• Lymphoedema Nursing
• Medicines Optimisation
• Physiotherapy services
• Orthopaedic Interface Service
• Paediatric Audiology Service
• Adults with a Learning Disability
• Specialist Cardiac and Respiratory Services
• Specialist Diabetes Services (Adults)
• Specialist Neurology and Stroke Service (Adults)
• Speech and Language Therapy (Adults)
• Urgent Care facility at Paulton Community Hospital
• Youth Offending Service Nurse
• Podiatry Services
• Physiotherapy will be run by Virgin Care
Services to be provided by a mental health
collaboration led by Virgin Care
• Community Based Mental Health Pathway
• Community Mental Health Services for Older Adults and those with Dementia
• Intensive Service
• Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Services
• Over-arching Specification for Integrated Mental Health & Wellbeing Service
• Primary Care Liaison Service
• Primary Care Talking Therapies Service
• Early Intervention
Services to be sub-
contracted by Virgin Care to other providers
• Adult Carers’ Centre
• Care at Home Service
• Children’s Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Service
• Community Equipment
• Community Opportunities for Older People who are Living with Dementia
• Dementia Support Service
• Direct Payments and Personal Budgets
• End of Life
• Extra Care Housing Services
• Home from Hospital/Home Response Service
• Housing Related Support – Homelessness Prevention Services
• Housing Related Support - Positive Accommodation and Support Pathway
• Independent Living Service
• NHS Health Checks Programme
• Substance Misuse
• Wellness Service – Lifestyle and Wellbeing Support.


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