Demand for health services are increasing year on year. Greater demand has also meant more pressure on family doctors to provide all the services people need. Appointments can be difficult to get especially for non-urgent issues or conditions. Increasingly, as people want more convenient ways to get advice and treatment, they are turning to online services just as they do for banking and shopping.
When it comes to people’s health however, convenience may be one thing – but patient safety is absolutely paramount. Everyone using an online site to get advice and obtain medicines must feel that they are getting a service that is every bit as safe as a GP’s surgery.
The government’s health regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), is responsible for setting appropriate guidance for all healthcare providers including hospitals and GPs. They ensure that providers all comply with the appropriate standards. When we started The Online Surgery two years ago, we registered with the CQC and applied the standards that they issued. Judging by the feedback we have received, customers have been highly satisfied with all aspects of the service.
However, recently, the CQC has issued new guidance which is aimed specifically at the growing number of online doctors’ services. This is to be welcomed as it means everyone can be reassured about the quality and safety of all genuine online providers.
We are now working with the CQC to ensure we comply with all aspects of their guidance.