Published: 19:00, 20 March 2018
| Updated: 09:38, 22 March 2018
A virtual GP surgery, called MedicSpot, has opened within the Sheppey Community Hospital pharmacy in Plover Road, Minster.
The service, which is already used in over 50 pharmacies across the country, is said to be the first of its kind in Kent and gives patients instant walk-in access to private GPs.
As well as speaking to a doctor via video link, patients can also be examined by the doctor using digital diagnostic equipment that is hooked up to the computer.
This includes a blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, pulse oximeter, thermometer and a MediCam, which allows the doctor to perform a "full clinical examination".
If patients need to use these devices, MedicSpot promises “a member of the pharmacy team is always on hand to help”.
The remote doctor can also issue a prescription that the patient can collect immediately.
MedicSpot co-founder and NHS GP Dr Zubair Ahmed says the service has proved invaluable in other areas, where NHS patients are regularly forced to wait around two weeks for a GP appointment or for several hours in A&E.
“We’re not aiming to replace NHS GP surgeries but, as doctors, we are all concerned about waiting times and the problems this can inevitably cause,” he said.
“We believe patients have the right to be seen immediately when necessary and are delighted to be one of only a few online GP services to have been commended by the Care Quality Commission.”
All MedicSpot GPs are registered practitioners in the UK.
Patients can book appointments online, by telephone, or within the pharmacy and can usually be examined and issued with medication within fifteen minutes.
Consultations cost £39 plus the cost of any medication.
Clinton Bubb, general manager of the Delmergate pharmacy group – which runs the Sheppey hospital pharmacy – believes the new in-pharmacy service will help to ease pressure on local NHS resources.
He said: “Increasingly, pharmacists and GPs are working together to provide a health service that’s second to none.
“It makes absolute sense to work as a team, ensuring that visitors to the MedicSpot clinic can take advantage of our joint medical expertise, benefitting from peace of mind or relief from discomfort, often much faster than has previously been possible.”
The MedicSpot clinic at Sheppey Hospital pharmacy is open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday. It is closed on Sunday.