GP digital consultation launches with backing from UK health regulator


A GP digital consultation has launched in the UK with the blessing of the country’s independent health regulator, becoming the first messaging-based service to receive registration.

Docly was registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on 9th August and in the first weeks since launch has already provided 200 additional consultations in one practice alone.

Under the five-year GP contract in England all practices are expected to offer online consultations by April 2021.

This is part of a drive by health secretary Matt Hancock to introduce digital health solutions to increase the efficiency of the NHS and keep pace with patient demand.

Docly, which has been developed by Sweden’s Min Doktor, said that patients’ cases are routinely picked up in less than an hour at a time when average waiting times for a GP appointment are almost 15 days, the first time ever that it has been above two weeks.

Docly is integrated into and works in full collaboration with practices to enable messaging-based digital consultations.

Its data collection methods allows patients time to describe their symptoms, whilst providing the doctor with detailed information.

Doctors can provide prescriptions if required. As standard, neither doctor nor patient have to work to a scheduled appointment, saving valuable clinic time and avoiding disruption to the patient’s day with less than 1% of any consultations requiring video interaction.

Prof Rishabh Prasad, GP Partner at Willowbrook Surgery in Leicester, speaking to the Leicester Mercury last week, said: “The launch of Docly at the practice has been hugely beneficial for patients and staff alike. Docly allows my practice to offer advice to patients within a couple of hours, rather than them waiting days for an appointment. I have always been concerned with the unmet need of my patients and I hope to be able to offer 1,000 appointments a month with the app.”

Barnaby Poulton, Managing Director of Docly, added: “We are rightly proud to be the first messaging-based digital consultation service to receive CQC accreditation. We are now helping patients who may otherwise have needed to take time off work or waited over two weeks for an appointment. Docly is supporting the people that need it the most, getting care to people at the right place at the right time.”

Other digital GP consultation providers are also making their debut – earlier this month LIVI said it had signed agreements with surgeries across Birmingham, Shropshire, Northamptonshire, and parts of the South East.