Anyone who has kids knows that when they get sick, it often seems to be at the most inconvenient time possible. Weekends? Yup. The one day the car is in for a service? Yup. Five minutes before you leave for work? Yup.
And as great and vital a system as the NHS is, it’s often very difficult to get an appointment to see a doctor at short notice. And that might be where Doctor Care Anywhere can prove to be a very valuable service. It’s certainly proved very useful for us.
Doctor Care Anywhere is a new service which allows you or a member of your family to talk to a doctor, in the UK, at any time between 8am and 10pm, seven days a week. We’ve been reviewing the service for about six months, and have used it multiple times.
All the doctors at the service are all GMC registered (the General Medical Council which all practicing medical doctors in the UK must be registered with) and they are all UK qualified GPs.
Rather than having to travel, appointments take place by phone or by video link, and can happen as soon as two hours after booking depending on what time is most convenient for you.
If a prescription is needed as a result of your consultation, then medications can be delivered to your house on the same day. This can be a godsend if you have sick children who are better off tucked up in bed. I love this part of the service and when Miss J had an infected cuticle on her thumb (a common ailment, it turns out) this proved really helpful and meant we didn’t have to trek up to the walk-in clinic in town on a weekend.
It’s just great for all those times when you have a quick medical question that you’d like answered speedily. At those times, having access to a GP on the other end of a phone or video call can be ideal.
Of course depending on what’s wrong, it may be that seeing a doctor in person is essential and if this is the case, then the doctor at Doctor Care Anywhere will be quick to advise the best course of action. This actually worked surprisingly well and when I called about having injured my neck, the GP talked me through an on-camera self-exam and referred me up to A&E really quickly and efficiently – I even got a referral letter to print and take with me.
How does it work?
The whole Doctor Care Anywhere service is very user-friendly.
You fill in basic account information to sign up, then give the details for each patient. Once signed up, you can log in, browse the available time slots and choose one that’s convenient. Sign up and booking can be done on a laptop or iOS device, such as your phone or tablet – so you could even book an appointment while you’re whizzing round the supermarket.
The system works on an algorithm meaning that depending on demand, it works to ensure that enough doctors are on call, so that usually you will be able to get an appointment within a few hours.
For phone appointments, you’ll simply receive a call at your allotted time, and for online appointments, you simply log in on your laptop and receive a prompt when your appointment is ready to begin. Each consultation is automatically allocated 15 minutes (an average NHS consultation slot is 10 minutes).
How the fee structure works
Doctor Care Anywhere has a simple fee structure. For a one-off appointment, it’s £60 on a weekday or £75 on the weekend.
If you like the service and think that you’ll use it more often, they have a monthly membership which offers unlimited appointments for you and your family.
Costs vary with the size of your family, ranging from to £12 for an individual, to £22 a month for a family of two, up to £40 a month for a family of five.
As a working mum, the main benefit of Doctor Care Anywhere is the convenience and flexibility it offers. Yes, there is a cost attached, but when you offset that against potentially needing to take time off work, arrange childcare for other children and the hundred and one other issues that come with being a parent with a sick child – it can be a very useful service indeed.
Life with kids gets very busy, very quickly and having the ability to organise a doctor’s appointment from pretty much anywhere you have internet access is very handy. If you work in an office, you could even slip into a side room on your lunch break and have a GP’s appointment without having to take time off work. And having access to doctors until 10pm, after the kids go to sleep is one of those things you might not have realised you were missing until you have it.
We were given access to the service on a three month free trial, but perhaps the greatest testament to the service is that I’ve now signed us up as a family. For us, a family of four where both parents work and there just aren’t enough hours in the day, we feel that the Doctor Care Anywhere service is well worth £36 a month.
This is a commissioned post for Doctor Care Anywhere. Photo via Doctor Care Anywhere.