The doctor will see you (virtually) now - the rise of digital GPs

Women pointing at a clipboard

You can now go through your symptoms from your sofa.

By Sayjal Mistry

With virtual medical appointments, you can have a consultation with your doctor, a session with your physiotherapist and even a chat with a psychotherapist – all without having to leave your home. 

Time – and potentially life – savers 

Getting a medical appointment isn’t always easy as you’d hope.

Waiting on hold (with that music). Trying to get an appointment. And then having to factor in travel time (never mind in rush hour). 

It was already tricky enough. And then COVID-19 came along. 

With lockdown and shielding restrictions, it became even harder to be seen by anyone. So having access to virtual medical appointments by phone or video is more beneficial than ever before. 

It can save you time, money (no need to pay for transport or parking) and help stop infections spreading too. With a virtual appointment, doctors can see patients who can’t get to them – whether that’s because they’re isolating or simply can’t travel.  

Virtual appointments aren’t going anywhere  

So much has changed recently. But it seems likely that even when COVID-19 has passed, telephone and video appointments will remain 1.

That's because all you need is the basic tech to make a video call – such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop. And as long as you have an internet connection, you're all sorted. 

And we’ve already got services in place which mean, if you need a GP or physiotherapy appointment, you can get seen – all from the comfort of your very own home. 

Consultations without the wait with the Aviva Digital GP app 

With this mobile app, there’s no waiting around for appointments – you could get an appointment with a GP in as little as 30 minutes. 

It’s exclusively for our health insurance customers at no additional charge. If you are eligible to access the service, your policy literature will direct you to easily and simply register and set up an account for yourself. You can add any dependants under 16 to your account too.  

The app lets you see the GP’s personal bio, gender and if they specialise in anything specific – so you can pick the one that’s right for you. 

You even have the option to get an SMS text reminder 10 minutes before your appointments starts.

And if you’d prefer to use the same GP again, you can. You’ll be able to see whether a GP you’ve used via the app in the last six months is available. 

Show your symptoms from your living room 

You’ll be able to book a 15-minute video consultation with a GP, without having to leave the house. 

They’ll be able to: 

  • provide private prescriptions for collection from a pharmacy or delivery straight to your home
  • give you medical advice that is then stored in your Consultation Notes within the app
  • provide with you a fit note (sometimes called a sick note – to show your employer if you’ve been off work for more than seven days in a row because of sickness 2)
  • provide an open referral for further treatment via your health insurance policy if needed
  • You can also order your repeat prescriptions in-app (NHS England exemptions apply) and these will be sent to your home free of charge.

Get those aches and pains seen to at home with Physio Essentials 

With our Physio Essentials cover, you can get seen by a physiotherapist to work on your injuries or conditions.

It’s open to anyone and everyone. It includes face-to-face and virtual appointments and up to five clinical assessments each policy year (per policy holder) – all for £14.50 a month. There’s a premium if you’d like to add your spouse or civil partner. 

With virtual appointments available, you can get access to expert physiotherapy without having to leave the house. And because the physiotherapists we use are private, you’ll get seen quickly – without waiting around for an appointment.

That same high-level service 

If you’re having a virtual appointment, you’ll still get the same, high-quality service. 

Plus, having an appointment from home means your therapist get to see where you spend the majority of your time - that means they can get a better idea of the issues you face on a daily basis. 

If you’d prefer to see someone in person, that’s included too. As part of your cover, there is a network of physiotherapists for you to choose from. 

Get the support you need, wherever you are

Once you raise a claim using your Physio Essentials cover, you’ll have a call with a trained physiotherapist. This will last around 45 minutes and they’ll be able to tell you what sort of appointment you need – face-to-face or virtual. 

Here’s what else your cover includes: 

• A personalised programme, based on your needs. 

• Simple demonstration videos to guide you through your exercises you can do from your own home. 

• Follow-up calls to see how you’re getting along. 

So if things change again, we’ve got the right things in place to make sure you’re covered. Now there’s some reassurance for you. 

Explore The Aviva Edit

Insightful reads from our money, insurance and health blog.

Private prescriptions and fitnotes can be issued for a small charge.