Family doctors in Bournemouth have set up the first private GP service at which people who pay up to £145 a time will be seen faster and get longer appointments than their NHS patients.
The creation of the clinic has prompted fears that other GPs will follow suit and that NHS patients will become “second-class citizens” as general practice increasingly becomes a two-tier health service.
The three doctors running the Dorset Private GP service are offering “the unhurried, thorough, personal care we believe is best for patients” – at a price. Patients pay £40 for a 10-minute phone consultation, £80 for a 20-minute face-to-face appointment and £145 for 40 minutes with a GP.
“With the NHS sometimes struggling to offer a quality service now is the time to choose a private doctor,” according to the website for the trio’s venture. They offer times that suit patients and the chance to see the same GP at each visit, benefits that few NHS patients are offered any more because of the heavy and growing pressures on family doctor surgeries.
Those who pay receive their appointment at the same Poole Road Medical Centre in Bournemouth where the GPs see the NHS patients on their practice list. However, private patients in effect jump the queue to be seen as they can get appointments on the day, whereas ordinary patients can wait up to four weeks for an appointment lasting just seven minutes.
Full story in The Guardian, 8 February 2017