Two Northampton GP surgeries offer 'more convenient' appointments for Â£40
An 'on-demand' private appointment service is being offered at two GP surgeries in Northampton.
Called 'Doctaly', the online service is operating at Danes Camp Medical Centre, East Hunsbury and Rillwood Medical Centre in Lumbertubs.
It offers 15-minute, face-to-face GP appointments during normal working hours, out-of-hours and at weekends for a charge of at least Â£39.99.
It means NHS doctors are seeing private patients around their contracted NHS core hours.
With widespread difficulty getting appointments at most surgeries, NHS patients at Danes Camp and Rillwood may fear it will become yet harder to get have a slot allocated.
However, the company claims that is not the case.
A Doctaly spokeswoman said: "Importantly, provision for NHS patients will be completely unaffected, as Doctaly appointments will always be additional and fitted in around the surgery’s NHS hours."
The company behind it claims Doctaly 'can help you fit your GP appointment around work, school and family commitments'.
Same day or next day appointments can be arranged, which may appeal to people having to take time off work to see a doctor
Doctaly appointments cost from Â£39.99, depending on the day and time of the slot booked. Some evening appointments can cost Â£69.99.
But due to NHS contractual restrictions, NHS patients registered with a practice will not be able to book private appointments there. Patients can book to see a doctor at any other practice on the Doctaly platform except for their own.
Dr Asim Chishti from Danes Camp Medical Centre said he was "extremely excited" to have be offering the Doctaly service.
He said: "By offering private appointments in addition to our NHS commitments, we can cater for more people in the area needing to see a doctor at short notice.
"There is nothing more frustrating than having to wait weeks to see your GP when you have a problem, or stressing about leaving work early to accept an appointment at a difficult time when that is all that is available.
"We hope that residents and visitors of Northampton will see the value in booking an appointment through Doctaly when they need to, which can undoubtedly help to make visits to the doctor more accessible and convenient.
"The sooner they see a doctor, the quicker the problem can be resolved, getting them back to work and normal life as quickly as possible.”