VetPod is a GP consultation service, providing you and your family with 24/7 access to a UK-based GP whenever you need it, both at home and abroad. It is available to staff of veterinary practices, associations, charities and suppliers in the animal welfare industry for just £3 per month.
With VetPod, a GP can provide advice, reassurance or guidance on a wealth of medical matters, at a time to suit you via phone. This means no wasted time spent waiting for an appointment during working hours. You can also book virtual face-to-face consultations with a GP in the comfort of your own home or at work, providing a more in-depth and specific diagnosis for certain injuries or illnesses.Sign up Today
Work life is becoming increasingly more hectic for many people like yourselves, meaning you have less time to spend on other aspects of your life. Not only are people working longer hours, but GP waiting times are rocketing, with it now being reported that the average wait for a GP appointment is 13 days*. The inconvenience of getting and attending a doctor’s appointment could mean you delay in seeking treatment or advice, thus making your problem worse further down the line.
*According to The Standard newsletter (June 2017) from Medical Solutions.
VetPod not only covers you, but also your partner and any dependent children for no extra cost. The GP consultation service can be accessed by the whole family for reassurance and diagnosis. Get instant healthcare advice for your children, all you need to do is add them to your policy and quote your VetPod policy number when calling.
Access to VetPod isn’t limited to the UK. You can call the GP helpline or arrange an e-consultation from anywhere in the world. Getting sick whilst on holiday or abroad is never ideal. Symptoms can get lost in translation, whilst the language barrier can leave you unsure about medications. Using VetPod can help clarify a diagnosis, discuss possible treatments and put your mind at ease.
Waiting for an appointment, getting to your doctor’s surgery and waiting to be seen takes up valuable time. Instead with VetPod you can speak to a GP whenever you want, wherever you are. Fit your healthcare around your own schedule and avoid taking time off work. You can even have prescriptions delivered to your home or workplace.
The service is provided by not-for-profit organisation BHSF, which was established in 1873 by Birmingham-based surgeon Joseph Sampson Gamgee. BHSF are delighted to work with Shire to provide the animal welfare industry with this service.
BHSF is a not-for-profit employee benefits provider. They are passionate about delivering quality and value to their customers. BHSF brings many years of experience, excellence in customer service and financial stability.More Details
Here are three examples of how the GP helpline can be used.
This 39-year-old woman was having difficulty sleeping and was feeling more exhausted. Following a 25-minute consultation, the doctor was able to diagnose acute stress and make recommendations to manage situations more effectively, as well as suggesting techniques to aid relaxation.
Two further consultations provided further support/counselling to Miss JE and reminders on techniques for coping.
A 55-year-old man was due to travel to Vietnam and wished to find out which travel vaccinations he required.
The doctor was able to indicate the required vaccinations and to discuss other precautions that needed to be taken.
A 21-year-old student sitting final exams has developed a low back pain with right-sided sciatica. Following a 15-minute consultation, the doctor was able to advise VH that he should see a physiotherapist, and also suggested a suitable anti-inflammatory drug that could be purchased over the counter from the local chemist.
Once you’ve clicked through to sign up, you’ll be taken directly to the BHSF website to provide a few details and complete payment.
Within 30 days you will receive a welcome pack, including all of the information you need. You will also receive a handy wallet card with the numbers, so you will always have VetPod to hand.
When you need to speak with a doctor, just call the GP Helpline telephone number and a trained operator will take some details and arrange for a GP to get in touch at a convenient time for you. Please have your policy number to hand.
Got any questions? Click through to read the FAQs.More Details
Who will I speak to when I call?
When you first call, you’ll speak to a specially trained operator who takes some details and arranges for a GP to call you back at a convenient time. If you are calling for a webcam consultation, the operator will ask for your email address.
Can I choose to speak to a male or female doctor?
Where possible, we will always try to accommodate your preference to speak to a male or female doctor. All our GPs are friendly, experienced, NHS practising GPs, with the same qualifications as your own NHS GP.
What sort of things can I ask about?
Anything you would normally ask your own GP. For example, about any vaccinations you might need if you’re travelling, sensitive or confidential concerns, explanations of diagnosis or treatment, aches and pains or any health issues related to your age or any other health-related query you might have.
Will I still need to see a GP?
Many of our callers receive the advice, reassurance and, where appropriate, diagnosis they need from our doctors. Our doctors can assist with most questions you may want to ask a GP, but if you have symptoms which require a physical examination, or you need a repeat prescription, you may have to see your own GP.
Is there any limit to the number of calls?
No. You can call the GP advice line as often as you need, there is no limit on the number of phone or webcam consultations you can have.
Can the GPs issue a prescription?
Yes, if the GP you speak to thinks it’s appropriate. They can arrange and electronically authorise private prescription medication. The online pharmacy then contacts you to arrange delivery of your medication (not the prescription) to your home or workplace and the pharmacy will take payment via your credit or debit card.
Private prescription medication is subject to a full consultation with the GP taking in to consideration presented symptoms, medical history, any current medication. Medication will only be issued where the GP believes it is clinically appropriate for the patient, on a case by case basis.
What are the prescription medication delivery charges?
Provided medication is in stock and raised before 4pm, the medication is delivered the next working day to the patient’s home or place of work. There is a currently a flat rate for P&P of £4.50 and many common items, such as antibiotics, Ventolin etc. are charged at the minimum price of £5.50. Amoxicillin is the most common prescription raised and is delivered to the patient at a total cost of £10 based on prices as at June 2017. 2 June 2017
How is the medication packaged?
It depends on the size and type of medication but most smaller items are sent in cushioned securely sealed packets.
Are there any limits as to what the doctor can prescribe?
The service follows GMC best practice guidelines for remote prescribing. Should the GP feel it was necessary, they can raise short-term medication for acute conditions. If you think you require on-going medication or you are seeking a repeat prescription, it is in your best interest to see your own GP to be examined.
Can the GPs issue fit notes?
Yes, should the GP feel it was necessary they can issue private fit notes. Please check with your employer that they will accept a private fit note. Private fit notes may not be acceptable for statutory sick pay.
Can the GPs issue referrals to specialists?
Should the GP feel you would benefit from a specialist assessment or further treatment they can provide you with an open private referral letter. This referral is for Private Medical Care only and will not be accepted for services in the NHS. Referral letters can be posted or emailed directly to you.
Please note the private referral is not a claims authorisation and you will need to speak to your Private Medical Insurance company prior to receiving any treatment, unless you will be funding this yourself.
What about confidentiality?
Patient confidentiality is very important and your record remains confidential unless you provide permission to share it with a third party such as your own NHS GP or a specialist.
How long will my personal data be held on your systems?
At least 10 years and in the case of someone under the age of 18, it is held for 10 years after they reach this age.
How will the GP service communicate with the patient’s own GP in the case of a private prescription being issued?
Where the doctor feels it is appropriate (especially where a prescription is issued), he/she will ask for the patient’s permission to send a copy of the consultation notes to their NHS GP. Communication is by secure email, fax or post depending on how the surgery can receive the notes.
How do you recruit your GPs? What qualifications do the doctors have?
Our GPs are handpicked following a recommendation and approved by our medical advisors. All GPs have Bachelor of Medicine degrees and are Members of the Royal College of GPs; many have additional qualifications in areas of special interest. They are experienced, practising NHS GPs who are GMC Registered/Licensed, on the NHS England Performers list and GP Register, holding £10m liability insurance. 3 June 2017
How do you ensure the GPs are vetted on an ongoing basis?
As all of our GPs our NHS practising GPs they all have a responsible officer they report to and have an annual 360-degree assessment to ensure they are fit to practise. In addition to this, we clinically audit them, hold bi-annual performance reviews with their peers and have extensive protocols and regular system training.
Can we get any usage statistics for our staff?
The safeguarding of patient confidentially is a fundamental principle of medical ethics; therefore, we can only provide aggregated statistics where we can ensure patient’s identities can be kept anonymous. Usage statistics can be supplied quarterly but only when member validation data is supplied with a separate employer ID.
Management information is provided to you in the form of our Health Analytics report, providing you with the top clinical issues concerning your members/workforce as well as usage stats on time of day, day of the week, age range, gender split and outcomes including the percentage of patients who didn’t need to see another medical professional and more.
Google Analytics statistics track usage of the GP Surgery app, number of users and sessions, location, popular pages, devices, browsers, time of day and much more.
What happens if they don’t have internet, can they still have a private prescription over the phone?
Yes, our service doesn’t require an internet connection to access the GP. Our telephone consultations service provides 24/7 telephone access to a GP, and should the doctor feel it was necessary, they can issue private prescription medication, open referrals, and fit notes remotely.
Isn’t it dangerous for doctors with no records to give prescriptions?
All Medical Solutions’ GPs are experienced practising GPs who have received training on the electronic prescription system; they will use their judgement following a telephone consultation which takes account of medical history, allergies, current medication and presented symptoms. As in their NHS role, they will adhere to the GMC guidelines on prescribing following a remote consultation.
The system has dropdown menus identifying approved drugs and dosage levels for non-controlled medication to be prescribed and authorised by a digital signature from the GMC registered doctor. The GP raises the prescription then must make a second check prior to authorisation; it is then checked by a qualified pharmacist during and prior to the despatch process for necessary safeguards – safer and more efficient than paper based prescribing. The service follows GMC best practice guidelines for remote prescribing.
The Doctors take a full history from the patient including any current medication and dosages, allergies, etc. This detail remains on the system, including data relating to any medication prescribed by the Medical Solutions doctor so in future consultations the doctor can see previous prescribing history. When a prescription is issued, the consultation notes are sent to the patient’s own GP with their consent. 4 June 2017.
Is there a limit to the number of consultations that they can have?
There is no limit to the duration or number of consultations you can have. Consultations last as long as they need to, so you don’t have to worry that the consultation will end after 10 minutes.
What happens if the doctor misses something?
All our GPs are NHS practising GPs working in primary care. In more than 75% of cases the doctor is able to provide a clear course of action where the patient doesn’t need to see another medical professional. If the doctor doesn’t feel able to conclude on the best course of treatment over the phone they will refer you on to see your own GP for a physical examination or further testing, or if necessary to the emergency services if they believe immediate treatment is needed.
The GP telephone consultation service is available for unlimited use, if you do have any concerns or your symptoms are not improving, or you later remember something you feel is relevant, you can contact the service and speak to a doctor 24/7 to discuss your concerns.
Can patients have a consultation and prescription for their children too?
Dependents are able to use the GP advice line, but we would recommend where a member, or dependent, requiring GP services is under the age of 18, it is advisable for their legal guardian to call on their behalf.
How is data and records stored and can their own doctor access it?
All patient data and records are stored on our secure patient management system, in a secure data centre and only accessible with dual-factor authentication by authorised personnel.
We believe it is important to have all your medical records in one place, therefore, when appropriate and with your permission, we send any relevant notes of your consultation, including consultations notes for any prescriptions or referrals issued, to your own NHS GP.
VetPod is a GP helpline and consultation service, brought to you by Shire and BHSF, provided by Medical Solutions.
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Click below to be taken through to our not-for-profit partner, BHSF. Simply enter a few details and complete payment on the next screen and you’ll have access to VetPod.
You’ll receive an email notification with your VetPod details followed by a welcome pack in the post.Sign up Today