Before the NHS was founded in 1948, all doctors were private. Since then most patients have been treated by NHS doctors but private healthcare has remained as a niche, initially only for the wealthy and offered unrivalled access, contacts and knowledge.
An early and famous private GP was Lord Moran, Churchill’s doctor, about whom Churchill’s private secretary famously said: "Lord Moran was never present when history was made but he was invited to luncheon afterwards." Lord Moran lived and worked at 121 Harley Street, now the home of Doctorcall.
Over the following decades, there were a small number of private GPs based in Harley Street, Wimpole Street, Mayfair or Knightsbridge. Patients describe them arriving in their Bentley, it being the most reliable motor car and of course they could park anywhere prior to yellow lines. The doctors would become friends of the families they looked after and were free to make their best judgements without much interference by regulation or protocol.
The world has changed in a short time - the above era is still within living memory for many. Now there is a large amount of private medicine throughout the UK and it fits closely with the NHS with each filling the gaps left by the other. For the patient, private healthcare offers choice and direct access to the best healthcare.
However, as democratisation takes hold, inevitably some of private medicine’s qualities are lost. At the present time, the private medical insurance companies are in the process of removing the GPs’ choice of specialist and instead asking for generic referrals, allowing the insurance company to allocate the cheapest specialist. Additionally, new regulations are bringing protocols in across the board. For the private GP, working in the private sector still allows the doctor to think independently and perform to the best of his ability, unhampered by the restraints of outwardly-imposed time limits.
For many patients, their circumstances are integral to their health, whether it is an important engagement they need to be on good form for, or the pressures of their lifestyle impacting on their wellbeing. Protocol driven medicine does not take personal circumstances into account and a large part of the niche filled by private GPs nowadays is helping patients attain practical goals.
For the demographic group who used private GPs after The War, the top private GPs are still able to find ways around the limitations and restrictions that are placed on them and can still access the very best treatment in the world, although they now need to take a global view in some situations, as, even though London is still a leading medical centre, the UK is no longer the world leader it once was in all disciplines. This is sometimes known as concierge medicine or health advocacy, but it is just a part of what private GPs have always done.
Doctorcall aims to provide modern private GP services to both individuals and companies, using the latest resources but drawing on our long experience to provide access to the best healthcare that can be found.
A private GP practice should have:
- An efficient helpful reception with good appointment availability
- Doctors who are rated highly by patients and colleagues and who keep up with the latest developments
- A willingness to approach each case with an open mind
- Ability to work within the patient’s requirements and values and to take into account practical considerations as well as medical ones
- Sufficient time for the doctors to work to the best of their ability
- The best equipment and resources
- The best possible referral network of top doctors and hospitals with strong relationships to provide the best access when required
- Availability when required.
Doctorcall has been running since 1989 and has grown year-on-year since it started. Most of the top GP practices use Doctorcall for their out-of-hours cover, and endorsement of which we are justifiably proud. We are also recommended by many high-end organisations who value our service.
Doctorcall is the only GP practice that has its own 24/7 visiting doctor service that can provide cover at all times. We have developed a very strong referral network and we are able access the best secondary care at the shortest possible notice. Our reputation is strong and our referrals are accepted at face value so if we say it is urgent, we get action.
We moved our London clinic to the Harley Street campus several years ago in order to have the best specialists and testing facilities on our doorstep. Patients can book 15-minute consultations for simple problems or longer ones. Our standard consultation other than for simple problems is 30 minutes.
In many settings, doctors become stale as a result of practising formulaic medicine. By approaching everything as a new challenge with an open mind, we keep focused and we are able to tailor our patients’ treatment to their needs. Through working in the Harley Street campus we are able to keep up with the latest treatments and ideas. Keep our number in case anyone should ever need it, or better still try us!
0844 257 0345 (or from abroad +44 20 7535 1888).