Finding a private general practitioner (GP) in Birmingham, UK may be easier and economically wiser now than a decade ago. Public healthcare is obviously getting overwhelmed. Maybe the shift is a sign of the times.
Patients are getting more and more frustrated by their local public GP's services. From struggling appointment systems to overworked staff, there is much to be desired with the National Health Service (NHS). In fact, GPs are also complaining. A University of Warwick study shows that almost half of NHS GPs are planning to quit within five years.
With the issues hounding the NHS, private GPs are benefiting from a sudden influx of patients. Indeed, improving access is what every healthcare regime wants. But if patients are not getting what they want amidst new changes, they will look for alternatives. They want a doctor when they need one.
In the UK, the average waiting time for an appointment with a local GP is 13 days. This alone is unacceptable. Some patients, faced with a higher cost of health care with a private GP, do not mind. As long as they get the service they need without trouble, they can make the necessary sacrifice. But eroding some relevance of the NHS, analysts see this shift as an opportunity for the NHS to be relieved of some stress.
Added Capacity and Flexibility
The impact of the rise of private GPs can be viewed as a structural outcome of the existing issues with the UK healthcare industry. The private GP practice is sprouting from everywhere now, but GPs who are staying with the NHS but also working as private GPs outside hospital work are seeing this as a way to boost capacity and flexibility of the entire healthcare service. Gaining extra income is only a sweetener.
The overlaying dynamics now is that GPs are able to practice at two levels: public and private. Without compromising the ideals of the NHS, they are able to help make the price of health care inexpensive. If the NHS gains a lot of power, it can get monopolistic; hence, the price of a doctor's service will be NHS-dominated. Now, we are talking about affordability.
GP Service 24/7
Contributing to the surge of private GP practice are apps and software that are bringing private GP groups and companies to potential patients. There are app services that provide medical advice and consultations via video calls or next-day prescription delivery. Patients in such services can get a subscription worth £5 a month for unlimited GP service.
These "new" services are offshoots from what the NHS cannot provide. In a way, it revitalizes health care by creating efficient alternatives to patients. Existing healthcare networks and private health providers are getting into the bandwagon effectively, making general practice more valuable.
The growing popularity of private GP services is a result of the existing strain in the public healthcare system. To release some of the stress that is causing this strain, new avenues of support must be found. Private GPs are providing one. But government policy is lacking. As everyone waits for a fresh policy to alleviate pressures in the NHS, private opportunities will always be there to adapt and drive change. That is why private GPs matter now.