But she cannot see how GPs would have the time to use Doctaly with their full workload, “unless it is forced upon us to earn part of our income privately in order to survive, as it has been with the hospitals”."
Dr Louise Irvine, the National Health Action (NHA) Party executive, says patients should be aware of some of Doctaly’s small print.
"Dr Louise Irvine, the National Health Action (NHA) Party executive, says patients should be aware of some of Doctaly’s small print. First, patients can choose whether the notes from the Doctaly consultation should be shared with their regular NHS GP. But Dr Irvine says: “Any private GP should share the results of the consultation with your regular GP. If you are prescribed something privately your GP needs to know. The Doctaly GP gives the notes to their patient to choose what they do with them. This practice goes against the GMC guidelines and is potentially unsafe.”
Dr Irvine also highlights that Doctaly recommends psychiatric complaints or chronic diseases should be dealt with by a patient’s regular GP. “This looks suspiciously like the reality of much private practice which cherry picks the easiest elements of care and leaves the rest to the public sector,” she says.
She is concerned that some GPs may be “tempted to fill the holes in their funding – which is at an all-time low right now – by taking on this additional work”. “Some people refer to this as ‘privatisation by the back door’ but it is looking more and more like the government is holding the front door open for it. I worry that the funding constraints may become too great and my fellow practitioners may be forced to adopt this way of working.”