National Friendly has linked with digital health provider of remote primary care, Medical Solutions, to offer clients holding its Optimum private medical insurance In/day-patient Plan and Out-patient Plan unlimited free telephone or video access to Medical Solutions’ panel of private GPs.
Users of the service will first speak to a specially trained operator who takes some details and arranges for a GP to call back, with the patient being offered a choice of male or female GP, wherever possible. The GP telephone or video consultation service is available for unlimited use; if a patient’s symptoms are not improving, or they later remember something which may be relevant, they can contact the service and speak to a doctor 24/7 to discuss any concerns.
Most patients will receive the advice, reassurance or diagnosis they need from their remote GP, including the ability to issue prescriptions. However, if a patient still needs a physical examination, for example, they may be referred to their own GP, or to specialist care.
Wayne Carter, head of sales and marketing at National Friendly, said: “We have moved quickly to implement the lessons we are all still learning from the Covid-19 outbreak. In our opinion, the lockdown has prompted a rethink in the way people can and must access primary care. It has also been particularly hard on older members of the community.
“Our clients tend to be in this demographic group, so finding ways of reassuring and supporting them has been critical for us, as many have not been able to see a GP. The Medical Solutions remote GP service helps to fill an important gap, not just for those worried about Covid-19, but also for the many other patients who have put other health issues on hold by staying at home, which is not always the best strategy.”
Paul Nattrass, commercial director from Medical Solutions, added: “We are delighted to partner with National Friendly to make our 24/7 GP service available to Optimum members. Medical Solutions has been successfully delivering remote GP consultations for over 20 years, providing patients with advice and support for a wide range of medical conditions.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and associated national lockdown has highlighted the usefulness of ‘telemedicine’ with consultations being delivered by phone and video. Patients who are obliged to stay at home, for whatever reason, may have no option but to have remote consultations, if they want to consult with a GP. Now they are discovering how effective this can be and as a result, this new way of seeing a GP has soared in popularity.”