What to do if you can’t get an appointment with your GP

Struggling to see a GP? Femail reveals the apps and specialist companies offering appointments and how much they cost

  • The NHS faces a number of problems, including unprecedented winter demand 
  • Strikes by nurses and a shortage of GPs and paramedics has added to misery
  • There are a growing number of often-affordable alternatives for certain services
  • Among them are services for blood tests, physio and mental health options

The NHS may be incredibly close to our hearts – yet it is also rarely out of the news.

Recently, GPs have been slammed for voting to close their doors at 5pm, making it more difficult for patients to get appointments. 

GP surgeries who are the worst at carrying out face-to-face appointments have also been named and shamed, and while no one should be forced to seek alternatives, there are a growing number of affordable options available.

Although nothing can replace the NHS for ambulance care or A&E provision, companies are offering alternative help for physiotherapy, mental health support or advice on specific problems for men or women. Femail brings you a round-up.  

If you're struggling to get an appointment with your GP, there are a number of options but you will have to pay for a subscriptoin or one-off appointment fee

If you’re struggling to get an appointment with your GP, there are a number of options but you will have to pay for a subscriptoin or one-off appointment fee 

ZAVA

Cost: Prices vary. The morning after pill can be obtained from £11.95, while prices for prescription hair loss treatment start from £19.95 

This online doctor and pharmacy is aiming to cut the need to see a GP by providing a streamlined service for certain ailments and medicines. 

Ideal if you wish to obtain the morning after pill, contraceptives or pills for erectile dysfunction, you simply fill in a medical questionnaire and answer a few questions about your health and what you want. 

A doctor will then review the information and confirm your request. 

Your medicine or test kit is then dispatched by Zava’s pharmacy and delivered discretely to your home by Royal Mail.

BABYLON HEALTH

 Cost: £149 a year for instant access to GPs. Phsyio appointments are £25

Babylon is a global company with 24m users

There are modern alternatives to the NHS on the market, some free, some affordable and some expensive

 This online service is aiming to flip from a model of reactive sick care to preventative healthcare by making it easier to access doctors.

You simply pay a small relatively small fee and then have access to online healthcare services and professionals.  

You choose a date and time to speak to one via phone or video call – and the waiting time to see one is typically less than it is at a GP surgery.

You can also access physiotherapists, nurses and pharmacists.   

At present, you can only access this service if your employer pays for it, or for free if you live in Fulham, London.  

THE HEALTHILY APP 

 Cost: Free

Healthily is an app where you can check symptoms

There are modern alternatives to the NHS on the market, some free, some affordable and some expensive

Founded in 2013, the Healthily app is a free ‘self-care’ app that uses artificial intelligence to help users check their symptoms before deciding to see a doctor. 

Described as the world’s first medically-approved self-care platform, it brings medical knowledge out of the doctors surgery and into everyday life.

For instance, if you have a symptom, such as a headache behind the eyes, you can input this alongside basic demographic information about your sex and age. 

It asks you about a range of other symptoms. 

After selecting the appropriate responses, and asking other questions, such as if you are obese or had a recent injury, it then gives you a report.

This might suggest that no further action is needed, or it might say that you need immediate help and that you should go to A&E.

While it doesn’t specifically diagnose you, it suggests – on the results of your answers – possible causes for your ailments and gives an appropriate response.

NEWSON HEALTH 

Cost: An initial consultation with a doctor will cost £295 while a private prescription fee is £37

Newson Health is one of many companies offering support to women going through the menopause - but it is quite pricey

Newson Health is one of many companies offering support to women going through the menopause – but it is quite pricey

If you are a middle-aged woman and struggling to get a GP appointment to discuss the perimenopause or menopause, Newson Health and other organisations can step in. 

This particular company provides evidence-based care, treatment and support for women during this often-difficult time. 

It employs more than 100 doctors, nurses and pharmacists who are all menopause experts, and typically offers a virtual appointment within two weeks of initial contact. 

It also offers in-person appointments at various clinics, and advises on both Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and non-hormonal treatments. 

It also provides help for perimenopausal women who have had breast cancer – so may not wish to take HRT.  

In addition, it also provides other services such as bone scans and coil fittings. 

NUMAN 

Cost: Varies on your health issue

For men, Numan is seeking to tap into a market, providing medical advice and discreet prescriptions for certain issues like erectile dysfunction and hair loss

For men, Numan is seeking to tap into a market, providing medical advice and discreet prescriptions for certain issues like erectile dysfunction and hair loss

If you are a man, Numan is  a subscription-based service dealing specifically with male health and wellness issues. 

Promising to be discreet, Numan aims to help men take control of their health, and to remove the taboo surrounding issues such as hair loss and erectile dysfunction. 

You can access health services, medicines and advice from medical professionals at home via online consultations. 

And the company then provides medicines, posting them to your home.

Prices vary but if you are obese and wish to lose weight, Numan might prescribe a weight loss tablet costing £155 a month. 

But if you apply for help with erectile dysfuction, a plan may cost £39.00 per month.

PHYSITRACK 

Free if your physiotherapist uses it  

If you are injured or need physiotherapy, you can choose a physiotherapist who uses the Physitrack app. 

Its mobile app and platform has harnessed the internet to allow healthcare professionals to prescribe exercise programmes online.

Via the app video guides, you will be shown how to complete exercises.

Healthcare professionals can also track your progress, to encourage adherence and improve your outcomes. 

UNMIND

Cost: Free if your employer signs up  

Unmind is an option for better mental health - but at the moment employers have to pay for it before it can be accessed

Unmind is an option for better mental health – but at the moment employers have to pay for it before it can be accessed

It is not just physical health where people can get support.

In terms of mental health, the Unmind mobile app is designed to improve mental health within the workplace. 

The app allows employees to understand, measure and improve their mental health through key areas, such as calmness, happiness, stress, connection and nutrition. 

It then encourages employers to help themselves and drive change by accessing mental health insights.

It also offers offers digital courses, meditation sessions and healthy food recipes.

THRIVA 

Cost: Average test package is £85 

Thriva is a blood-testing company that allows you to send off samples to be checked without involving your GP

Thriva is a blood-testing company that allows you to send off samples to be checked without involving your GP

Thriva is a blood testing company that provides at-home tests for assessing things such as liver function, cholesterol levels and kidney function.

It also looks at low energy levels, which can be linked to a nutrient deficiency, an underactive thyroid or hormonal imbalance. 

If you think you may have something wrong and would like your bloods tested, you simply describe your symptoms and Thriva will suggest which blood tests to perform.   

They also send a ‘finger-pricking’ kit so you can take your own blood at home. 

Once the tests are sent off are analysed, Thriva offers detailed insights and support, as well as providing GP advice. 

The company aims to encourage regular testing and increased awareness of potential health issues.

 

 

 

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