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Posted by HealthHero

What can your employees expect from a virtual GP service?

What can your employees expect from a virtual GP service?
5 minute read

In 2022, 186.5 million working days were lost due to illness or injury. That’s a new record — and a massive cost to employers.

At the same time, ill health is a major driver of the UK’s tight talent market. The UK’s workforce participation rate is still below pre-pandemic levels, with rising levels of long-term sickness mainly to blame.

Amid all these challenges, the NHS is under significant pressure. Waiting lists are at an all-time high, with millions waiting more than a fortnight to see a GP.

In this context, finding ways to support your employees’ health and wellbeing is paramount. Whether you’re aiming to reduce absences or tackle presenteeism, you need to extend your employees’ access to care. And that’s where a virtual GP service comes in.

In this blog, we’ll outline what your employees can expect from a virtual GP service. We’ll also highlight how it helps you tackle a range of issues, from low productivity to high staff turnover.

What is a virtual GP service?

A virtual GP service provides unlimited, fully remote access to a GP. This will typically include a choice of video, phone, or message-based consultations. In some cases, the service will be integrated with a digital wellbeing app that offers a variety of health resources.

A virtual GP service does not replace your employees’ existing healthcare provision. Instead, it complements their local GP surgery, acting as an additional source of support.

The aim is to provide a flexible and responsive way for your employees to get a consultation when they need one, without the challenges that come with waiting for and attending an in-person appointment.

With a virtual GP service, your employees can access a GP no matter where they are or how busy their schedule is. And with waiting times substantially lower than in the NHS, they can find peace of mind faster.

What can employees expect from a virtual GP service?

Survey data shows that employees are clamouring for extra help with staying healthy. According to HealthHero’s own research, only 15 percent of employees rate their health-related benefits as excellent.

When health benefits are available, uptake is substantial. 79 percent of employees report making use of mental health and wellbeing support when it’s offered. For physical health services, that rises to 81 percent.

But what can your employees expect from a virtual GP service — and how will it help their overall wellbeing?

While virtual GP services have some basic features in common, there is significant variety in what they offer. In this overview, we’ll focus on the features that HealthHero's virtual GP service includes. When researching the options available, be sure to check the coverage your staff will be getting.

1. A service that fits their needs

Most virtual GP services let employees choose how they receive their consultation. In HealthHero’s case, this can be through a video call, over the phone, or via a messaging service.

This makes it much easier for employees to fit a consultation into their day. If they can’t get to a computer or find a private space to speak, they can still get the support they need.

It also means they can choose the option that makes them feel most comfortable — an essential consideration if they’re struggling with a sensitive issue.

With HealthHero’s virtual GP service, consultations are available between 8 am and 10 pm, seven days a week. With quality support on hand when they need it, your staff will be able to put their health first — and you’ll benefit from fewer absences and higher productivity.

2. No long waits

Waiting weeks for a GP appointment can be stressful. At its worse, it can even exacerbate symptoms — when it doesn’t just encourage people not to seek help in the first place. This can wreak havoc on your employees’ health, as they are left waiting for the treatment they need.

A virtual GP service solves these issues. With your employees able to get an appointment when they need one, there’s less chance of minor illnesses turning into longer-term issues.

Your staff will be healthier, happier, and more engaged. And the impact on everything from absence rates to staff turnover can be significant.

3. Access to vetted professionals

If you’re looking for help with a health issue, trust is critical. Your employees will want to be sure that the person they’re speaking to is fully qualified to deal with any symptoms they’re facing. Otherwise, they are unlikely to make use of the service.

A virtual GP service should have a clear and effective vetting process. At HealthHero, we only work with experienced GPs on the General Medical Council (GMC) register (or the IMC in Ireland). All GPs must complete an annual NHS appraisal and pass a rigorous interview with our Chief Medical Officer.

And the results speak for themselves. In our most recent assessment, we achieved a ‘good’ rating from the Clinical Quality Commission.

4. Options for further treatment

A GP appointment is often just the first step. Whether they’ve been prescribed medication or referred for specialist care, your employees will want any follow-up to be straightforward and easy to manage. Ideally, this will be integrated directly into the virtual GP service.

HealthHero’s virtual GP service supports opt-in sharing of an employee’s medical records. This allows for easy coordination with any ongoing treatment they may be receiving. Our GPs can issue private prescriptions, and our partnership with Signature RX means these can be collected from most local pharmacies in as little as two hours.

And if a referral or second opinion is necessary, this can be arranged directly by your virtual GP as part of HealthHero’s service.

Support your employees’ wellbeing with Symbio

A virtual GP service plays a vital role in any employee wellbeing strategy. At a time when your employees may be finding it hard to get the care they need, it helps them access support at a time and place that suits them.

HealthHero’s virtual GP service is available as a standalone service. However, for employers looking to provide comprehensive wellbeing support for their staff, our healthcare subscription Symbio has a range of additional benefits.

Symbio integrates our virtual GP service with preventative self-care programmes and a personalised wellbeing score. Your employees will have all the tools they need to stay healthy.

And the Symbio Manager Hub keeps you in the loop, too. With access to adoption, engagement and wellbeing metrics across your organisation, you’ll have tangible proof of Symbio’s impact.

To learn more about how Symbio can help transform your wellbeing strategy, book a demo today.

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