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Evolution of the doctors’ appointment

Getting an appointment with a doctor these days can be rather challenging. Not only are GP practices struggling with an ever-increasing number of patients and a growing elderly population requiring more medical care, they are also experiencing challenges with recruiting and retaining GPs in the profession. 

nurse and doctor

I saw an advert recently for a new service that has been developed to try and get around this problem. The solution suggested is a service called Push Doctor: 

Their site introduces the service in the following way… “whether you’re unwell, looking to improve your fitness, have a specific aspiration in mind, or just have a quick question - you can talk face-to-face with a professional, caring UK doctor in as little as six minutes.”

  1. BOOK AN APPOINTMENT - Be seen in minutes, or choose a time that suits you
  2. SEE A DOCTOR ONLINE – Talk face-to-face with a UK GP using our app or website
  3. START FEELING BETTER - Receive medical advice, prescriptions, referrals and fit notes.

This certainly sounds interesting, and for anyone who has sat on hold waiting for their GP receptionist to answer the phone this sounds like a much more efficient way of speaking with a medical professional.

However, this efficiency comes at a premium. And if GPs are leaving general practice to join private schemes such as this, then this may be compounding the recruitment/retention issues that are afflicting general practice at the moment. It made me wonder what our clients who are working in general practice think about schemes like this, whether they welcome the evolution or whether they feel it puts even more pressure on the NHS model.

Having said that, maybe developments like this are exactly what the NHS needs to consider in terms of its own evolution.

The way the site is marketed to doctors is interesting: “Push Doctor is an online GP service that allows you to connect face-to-face with patients via video consultation. You'll help people get the medical advice they need from a location of your choice, at a time that suits you.”


This resonated with our approach to running online focus groups in addition to the more traditional face-to-face environment. Although there are pros and cons of both methods, offering both channels enabled us at Research by Design to think creatively about how to reach difference audiences effectively. You can read our blog about that here.

Just as we are adapting to the changing needs of the audiences we wish to consult with, it’s encouraging to see other professions following a similar route. Although a consultation with a GP via video conference may not be appropriate on all occasions, there are certainly some instances when it would be both practical and suitable.

By Lindsey Nadin

This entry was posted in Market research, tagged Health & social care, Health professionals and posted on November 13, 2017

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