Thought Leadership: Virtual GP Services

In recent years, it is a well-reported issue that NHS GP waiting times are ever increasing. Find out more about how Virtual GP Services may help.

We all have experience of trying to get an appointment only to be told there is a wait, sometimes several weeks, unless you are lucky enough to get a cancellation appointment.

This wait clearly has a direct impact on the employee as their illness is likely to be prolonged, bringing the concerns and frustrations to them and their families that naturally result.

But what about the effect on employers? There will be costs incurred by delays in obtaining treatment for employees – both directly and indirectly. A recent CiPD survey shows the average number of days lost to absence is 5.9 days per employee per year. The survey found that most of these absence days were related to minor illness. How much of that average number is exacerbated by delays experienced accessing basic healthcare services from NHS GP’s?

Employers are becoming increasingly aware of their role in looking after their employees by improving engagement, productivity and managing absenteeism. After all, a healthy and happy workforce with minimal absence costs is usually an efficient and cost-effective workforce. A good way to offer speedy access to healthcare is allowing access to ‘virtual’ GP appointments. Various private medical providers now offer access to virtual GP services as part of their schemes and these kinds of services are often seen as an integral part of the future healthcare landscape.
Virtual GP services differ in their scope and service delivery but they share the same fundamental aims – get an employee in front of a qualified doctor extremely quickly at a time that suits them.

Consultations may be telephone based or by video conferences and the latest developments are seeing AI being applied to assist doctors with diagnosing patients and seeking appropriate treatments.

In practical terms for an employer, this can result in employees accessing healthcare advice on day one of their symptoms, often without the need to take time off work given that a consultation can be held privately in a meeting room at a suitable time for the employee. Treatment or medication can be prescribed if appropriate and sent directly to the employee by courier. Employees are back to their healthy best as quickly as possible, a good result for both the employee and the employer.

At Busy Bees Benefits, we offer a variety of benefits that work to engageprotect and reward your workforce. We are experts in Private Medical Insurance and the benefits the schemes can bring to organisations – not just the traditional speedy access to medical procedures, but also the ancillary benefits that are bundled by the insurers and add real value to both employees and employers.

Feel free to give us a call on 0330 333 9100 to speak to one of our expert consultants today.