Posted on April 16, 2019 by staff

Online doctor firm wants to be envy of the world


The CEO of paid-for online GP service Push Doctor said he wants their partnership with the NHS to be the envy of the world.

The company describes itself as the UK’s No 1 online doctor and currently has a reach of 1.2 million people.

Wais Shaifta replaced the company’s CEO and co-founder Eren Ozagir in 2018 and wants its technology to be in 75 per cent of the country’s GP surgeries inside five years.

Shaifta praised Ozagir’s ‘incredible’ contribution to Push Doctor and said the split was amicable but necessary as the company changed direction to work closer with the NHS and target the corporate market.

In January Push Doctor announced a deal with the Urban Health and I3 primary care networks in Birmingham – covering 13 practices and 88,000 patients – to enable them to make a digital appointment with an online GP to help them get seen more quickly.

In September 2018 Push Doctor partnered with super-practice Modality, covering surgeries in Yorkshire, the Midlands, London and the South East. It means patients are offered the option of a virtual consultation with Push Doctor GPs when they go to book their usual face-to-face appointments with their practice.

Shaifta said he was a ‘friend’ of the NHS adding: “When we grow and scale and support the NHS that will open up efficiencies in healthcare. We can be an example for the rest of the world.

“The NHS needs a lot of help when it comes to digital and technology. There are a few reasons for it. They may have not got funding before. They may not have got a Secretary of State who was so passionate about tech.

“I know from Push Doctor’s perspective and my digital background we’ve done some phenomenal stuff. The patient expectation on how they consult with healthcare is changing. To put that responsibility solely on the NHS is probably not fair.

“What we want to do is bring all our expertise and work collaboratively to play a part in the solution.”

At Push Doctor patients see an NHS-trained UK GP over a video consultation. Each appointment is 10 minutes long and costs £30 pay-as-you-go although they offer monthly memberships. Appointments booked through the NHS partnerships are free to the patient.

Push Doctor’s army of GPs can provide prescriptions and referrals like a local GP and are available seven days a week.

Shaifta, 33, joined Push Doctor from online wellness service Treatwell, where he was director of global operations. Prior to that, he spent six years with Just Eat as international operations director.

“Push Doctor was a great opportunity,” he said. “What sold it to me was healthcare. How often can you be involved in something when you’re changing someone’s lives?

“The potential is enormous. There are currently 300 million GP appointments every year of which an estimated 40 per cent could be done digitally.

“Healthcare is the biggest market out there and we’ve only scratched the surface. Less than 1 per cent of appointments are done digitally.”

Push Doctor appointed Dr Dan Bunstone as Chief Medical Officer. He was previously the chairman of NHS Warrington CCG.

The company has also established a Governance Advisory Board chaired by Ed Smith, the former chairman of NHS Improvement and including Dr Marc Farr, Director of Information at ‎East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust; Michael Lennox, Member of NHS England Local Professional Network for Pharmacy; and Christine Outram, Chair of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

Eren Ozagir co-founded Push Doctor in 2013. It was so far raised $36m. It is headquartered in Manchester and employs 72 people.

Shaifta said: “Manchester is a very exciting area. There’s a great tech hub in the city.”