According to a 2019 survey by Pulse, the average wait time for a GP appointment in the UK is now 14 days or longer, with three in ten GPs giving an average wait time of between two to three weeks. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated these pressures, causing many GP surgeries to restrict services to the most critical cases, increasing the difficulties faced by patients requiring care.
Whilst some NHS surgeries are now offering remote consultation and video conferencing appointments, waiting lists for these are often substantial and can sometimes fail to provide the outcome required.
As with other sectors of the economy however, technology has provided an alternative to face-to-face visits in the form of remote GPs: a 24/7, 365 day per year service, which enables patients to call in or have video conferences with qualified medical practitioners as required.
The benefits of a remote GP
An appointment with a remote GP can be made any time and from any location, usually within just a few hours of a screening call to determine your requirements. For those individuals struggling with NHS waiting lists, this can provide a reliable, easy-to-access alternative to waiting for many weeks to see your local GP.
For an employer, the remote GP service provides an opportunity to support your employees’ ongoing medical requirements, or to aid with sudden changes in health. The ability to book an appointment at any time and make the ‘visit’ remotely also reduces the requirement of employees to travel to a surgery, helping your staff to get the help they need and return to work quickly.
As lockdown is lifting, we’ve seen many providers start to offer remote medical services, including AIG Life’s offering, Smart Health, which not only offers UK GP services, but health check and nutrition consultations. In addition to this, there have been more specialised services, for example Medicash’s SkinVision app, which allows users to use their smart phone to identify 95% of skin cancer from moles and skin spots.
These services provide peace of mind that your employees’ physical and mental health can be supported, helping them to stay happy, healthy and productive.
Aston Lark has a specialist Employee Benefits team who would be happy to guide you through this and any other benefit queries you may have. Please contact our new business team on 020 7543 2841 for an informal chat.
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