Towergate Health & Protection has launched a new online GP service for its SME, corporate PMI and group risk clients.
This service, GP Hero, will cover employees as well as their families and allow employers to deliver a whole-of-workforce solution and extended online GP access, which traditionally has only been available to those employees insured on private medical insurance (PMI) or group risk insurance policies.
Those using the service will have access to primary care services, with advice and diagnosis available from a qualified doctors, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This service GP Hero comes in direct response to the Covid crisis. Towergate says the pandemic has resulted in long-term changes in health and wellbeing behaviours. It says there has been a significant increase in people accessing healthcare remotely with many people now actively preferring this option.
Towergate Health & Protection distribution director Brett Hill says: “The benefits of fast, convenient online access to a GP have long been recognised, and the pandemic saw the rapid roll out of online GP services to PMI customers in the spring of 2020.
“However, not all employers can afford to provide every employee with PMI, so we have partnered with HealthHero to deliver an affordable way for SMEs to extend online GP access beyond their insured workforce at a critical time when NHS GP practices across the country will be occupied with the roll out of the UK’s Covid vaccination programme throughout the course of 2021.”
The launch is part of a wider initiative to facilitate access to remote clinical services for Towergate Health & Protection’s clients.
To improve access to mental health support for SMEs an employee assistance programme (EAP) was launched last summer offering online video counselling services, and as demand for mental health support has surged during the pandemic online counselling sessions now account for over a third of all sessions provided by the service.
The company also launched an agreement with Ascenti in November to provide SMEs with access to Ascenti’s remote physiotherapy services for their employees, with preferential rates for Towergate Health & Protection’s clients. For employees insured on a cash plan in particular this helps their benefits go further, providing enhanced value for employers and better outcomes for employees.
The minimum group size is just three employees and the service can also be used from overseas. The GP Hero service is provided by HealthHero, formerly Medical Solutions.
HealthHero commercial director Paul Nattrass adds: “Employees can speak to our 24/7 Customer Services Team or simply book online, choosing between a phone or video appointment and a male or female GP.
“All our GPs are experienced, practising NHS doctors who have exactly the same qualifications and experience as patients’ own GPs.
“Private prescriptions can be issued for collection from a pharmacy or delivery to any UK address. If symptoms require further investigation or treatment, the GPs can issue an open private referral letter to enable access to continued treatment.”
Hill adds: “We are really excited by this new service. It means that companies of all sizes will be able to offer online GP access to all employees. This is a highly valuable and valued employee benefit, which will bring tangible positive support in these difficult times.”